The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for a new era with Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton taking over as head coach from next season.
Walton spent nine years as a player for the Lakers and won two championships, but this will be his first head coaching role in the NBA.
With that in mind, the 36-year-old is looking to surround himself with experienced assistants to join his coaching staff and help him make the transition. According to the L.A. Times, he has already chosen Brian Shaw to be his lead assistant.
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The report states that Shaw and the Lakers are close to an agreement and that his experience as a head coach, an assistant coach and as a championship player were the primary reasons why Walton wanted him on his staff.
The 50-year-old was an assistant under Phil Jackson with the Purple and Gold when Walton was a player and the two are now set to be reunited.
Shaw won three championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002, when he played on the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant teams and won two more titles with the Lakers as an assistant under head coach Jackson.
He has been out of work since being fired in 2015 by the Denver Nuggets in his only head coaching job in the league to date.
He compiled a record of 56-85 in his time in Colorado but even though he failed to make a success of it, he is regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the league and had good stints in the City of Angels and with the Indiana Pacers after that.
Better Days Ahead
Despite still undertaking his role with the Warriors as they seek to win back-to-back championships, it appears Walton is already putting the wheels in motion behind the scenes for when he officially begins work in L.A.
This summer will prove to be a crucial one for the Lakers as they seek to improve on the two worst seasons in franchise history over the last two years.
They ended the campaign as the worst team in the Western Conference with a 17-65 record - only the Philadelphia 76ers were worse among all 30 teams.
As Mitch Kupchak stated when they fired Byron Scott shortly after the regular season ended, the team is keen to have their coaching structure in place before the draft and free agency.
The Lakers will have the second overall pick after securing it in the recent draft lottery. They are expected to select either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram with that pick and then focus on bringing in a marquee free agent.
The top free agents on the market include Kevin Durant - whose departure seems unlikely - Al Horford, Mike Conley, and DeMar DeRozan.
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Though it may be difficult to envisage the Pacific Division franchise luring one of those players, Laker Nation must be happy knowing the team is taking the necessary steps to move in the right direction.
One thing is for sure, things can't get any worse at the Staples Center.