The Los Angeles Lakers may have wanted Monty Williams, but now their coaching search is set to land where it always would–on Tyronn Lue.
As the Los Angeles Lakers began their search for a new head coach in earnest, Monty Williams seemed to be their preferred candidate. But now that Williams is set to become the next coach of the Phoenix Suns, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has passed along the expectation the Lakers will move toward with hiring Tyronn Lue.
Lue met with the Lakers a couple weeks ago, as he officially surfaced as a candidate to replace Luke Walton. Lue’s ties to LeBron James and having coached the Cleveland Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals and one title made him an easily-rumored candidate for Los Angeles.
As the Lakers went to interview Williams a second time, reports surfaced pointing to Kurt Rambis being elevated to assistant general manager under Rob Pelinka or associate head coach under the new head coach. It’s been speculated that Rambis’ wife Linda, who also works in the Lakers’ organization, has the ear of owner Jeanie Buss.
The idea of having Kurt Rambis lingering over his shoulder as an assistant coach, after presumably being forced on him as a prerequisite to be hired surely turned Williams off. It’s no surprise he chose less dysfunction, good young players and another high draft pick in Phoenix.
It’s clear Lue would be James’ preferred choice as Lakers’ coach, with the precedent of having hand-picked Lue as he pushed David Blatt out halfway through his second season back in Cleveland. Once Walton was on thin ice, a reunion seemed inevitable if Lue wanted the Lakers’ job.
It appears the Lakers had a genuine coaching search, at least in regard to their interest in Williams. But Lue was always easily the best all-around fit, for better or worse, as the Lakers start to more outwardly give James everything he’s looking for.