The Los Angeles Lakers found a bargain in Luke Walton as head coach earlier in the week signing the promising young mentor to a friendly contract over five years. The Lakers will now be part of many NBA rumors this season with Walton at the helm and trying to recreate his success as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.
Basing on Walton’s style of coaching with the Warriors when their head coach Steve Kerr was out due to a hip injury, the young coach would prefer a small ball approach like he did with the Warriors.
Currently, the Lakers have one of the worst rosters in the league as seen in last season’s performance when they finished with the worst record in the Western Conference and second worst overall with 17 wins against 65 losses for the year.
The bad record is actually good for the Lakers, who were accused of “tanking” the season but the Hollywood team did not care and hyped Kobe Bryant’s “Farewell Tour” to let fans forget that they were purposely losing games.
With Kobe Bryant gone to retirement, the Lakers not only rid themselves of a washed-up star but they also will clear the much needed salary cap space to chase the top free agents, like Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford and Bradley Beal, among others and most will be part of the NBA rumors as teams chase them in free agency.
Durant has said in the past that the only team he will sign with is a title contender and he has never disrespected OKC or his teammates by speaking of his free agency plans. However, Durant was seen visibly frustrated after their Game 1 blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals.
Durant’s decision will most likely be based on how the Thunder will fare in this postseason. Another run short of the NBA title will most likely push Durant to free agency and to consider moving on and signing with other NBA teams and open NBA rumors that he will leave OKC
This is when Walton can sell their long-term plan to Durant in convincing him to sign with the Lakers. At Golden State, Walton followed Kerr’s plan of maximizing the small but fast line-up that features the likes of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
The Lakers can feature a similar small ball line-up of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and possibly Jordan Clarkson, if the Lakers can resign him in free agency, plus Kevin Durant and can rival the Warriors line-up in the future.
Both the Lakers and Durant will be part of the NBA rumors and will be linked to each other this offseason and Walton is expected to sell his Warriors’ success to the top free agent targets.