The Lakers got their man.
From the jump, it was clear that Luke Walton was the coach the Lakers wanted to replace Byron Scott.
The team moved incredibly fast after firing Scott on Sunday night. By Wednesday they’d received permission from the Golden State Warriors to interview Walton, and the team wasted no time to meet with their number one candidate.
On Thursday, the Lakers flew up to Oakland to interview Walton, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who says the purple and gold “had other meetings lined up but cancelled them” after they’d finished with Walton.
According to Kevin Ding from Bleacher Report, Walton “killed” his interview with Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, so it’s no surprise that the Lakers wrapped it up there and then.
He was the guy they wanted, after all, and was also receiving interest from the Houston Rockets, according to reports.
Ding also reported that the Lakers’ interview with Walton last for six hours, so they were most definitely being thorough despite only meeting once with the two-time NBA champion.
Walton killed interview with Jim Buss & Mitch Kupchak, showing all he has learned about coaching. Lakers decided to lock him up immediately.
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) April 30, 2016
While Walton was in a good spot as the lead assistant coach for the Warriors, he told Shelburne that he couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to coach his former team:
“I loved everything about my time at Golden State and learning from Steve. I’ll forever be grateful to him, the organization and the team. But I have always dreamed of being a head coach and the chance to do that for an organization like the Lakers doesn’t come around very often.”
Walton will stay with the Warriors until their playoff run ends – they’re currently waiting to begin their second-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers – and then will get to work in his new role as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.