NBA

Luke Walton.

The Golden State Warriors give the L.A. Lakers permission to interview Luke Walton

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The Los Angeles Lakers' search for a new head coach has intensified as the week has gone on after the firing of Byron Scott on Sunday.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the Lakers had been given permission from the San Antonio Spurs to speak to assistant coach Ettore Messina. 

Today, however, the franchise has been given some positive news on the man who is believed to be the favourite to take the job and is on the lips of almost every Lakers fan, Luke Walton.

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Before overcoming the Houston Rockets to advance to the Western Conference semi-finals, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr - who won the NBA's Coach of the Award earlier this week - confirmed that they are prepared to allow the Lakers a chance to interview Walton. 

The Warriors assistant coach's stock has been high ever since he led the Dubs to an NBA record 24-0 start in the regular season following Kerr's absence after back surgery.

He is a popular choice to assume the head coaching role at the Lakers after spending more than eight seasons as a player with the franchise, winning multiple championships.

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns

"We told Mitch that he's perfectly welcome to talk to Luke as soon as the series is over and we have a little break," Kerr said of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, via ESPN.

Per ESPN, NBA coaching sources say Walton is a prime target for Los Angeles in its search to replace Scott who posted a 38-126 record over the past two seasons, the worst two years in franchise history. 

Change

For the second most successful franchise in NBA history, the L.A. Lakers have been languishing at the bottom end of the Western Conference for several years and are frankly too big of an organisation to be in mediocrity for much longer. 

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

A change is needed and this summer will be a significant one for the Lakers front office. With some interesting names available in free agency, most notably Kevin Durant, GM Kupchak and the Lakers management know they must work their magic to bring in a player capable of revitalising the hopes of the purple and gold after Kobe Bryant's retirement.

A good head coach can certainly go some way to improving the team's efforts in free agency and with the draft also coming up - where the Lakers may have a lottery pick - Kupchak has already stated that the search for a new coach will not be a drawn out process.

"I think it's unlikely there will be anything done in the next week or two," Kupchak said on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. "But certainly I don't anticipate this dragging into the summer. We'd like to get it done. We're looking to have a big offseason. It would be nice to have our staff in place during the draft and certainly when July 1 rolls around." 

It remains to be seen if Walton is willing to leave the perfect situation he currently has as a member of the Warriors' coaching staff to try and change the fortunes of one of the biggest teams in basketball. 

Topics:
NBA
Western Conference
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Kobe Bryant
Golden State Warriors

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