The coaching hire that appeared inevitable when the Lakers let Luke Walton go seems likely to come to pass.
According to ESPN and the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers are expected to move forward with Tyronn Lue as the top choice to replace Walton after their other apparent finalist, Monty Williams, took the Suns job Friday.
Lue has been the favorite to step into the role since the Lakers’ season began to unravel, given his championship-winning history with LeBron James in Cleveland.
The 42-year-old led the Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA title after replacing the fired David Blatt that January, then took Cleveland to the finals the next two years, losing to Golden State. He was fired after an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 season. Lue has a 128-83 regular-season record to go with an impressive 41-20 mark in the playoffs.
In addition to his ties with James, Lue has a history with the Lakers. The team acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Nuggets in 1998 and he spent his first three NBA seasons as a Lakers reserve, winning rings in 2000 and 2001.
According to the Times, Lue already has had two interviews for the Lakers job, as had Williams. But Phoenix stepped in to hire the former New Orleans coach off the 76ers’ staff Friday as the Lakers continued to take their time in the decision-making process.
Walton left the Lakers on April 12 and was named coach of the Kings the next day.
Jason Kidd and Juwan Howard also have interviewed for the Lakers job.