Concerns about LeBron James influencing Lakers’ coaching search
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a coaching search after the dismissal of Luke Walton, and a report suggests the organization is already concerned that hiring the wrong person could end up giving LeBron James too much power in the organization.
The Lakers are believed to be interested in Tyronn Lue as a replacement for Walton, and The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports that the Lakers “fear hiring Lue would be giving LeBron too much control.”
Lue of course coached James and the Cavs to three straight appearances in the NBA Finals from 2016 to 2018, only to be fired in the wake of James’ departure to L.A. after only six games this past season.
While Lue may be in the running for the job, the Lakers are said to have also set their sights on Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams as well. Williams is believed to have “a stronger-than-expected shot at the job,” Stein writes, due to Lue’s history with James.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is running the coaching search in the wake of Magic Johnson surprisingly resigning as the team’s president of basketball of operations last week.
The Lakers indicated upon Johnson’s departure that the organization intends to “work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future.” Hiring the right coach would be imperative to achieving that goal.
That said, James has long been cast as a de facto player/coach/general manager/front-office executive at every NBA stop. That said, the Lakers were believed to have a power structure in place with Pelinka and Johnson that James’ power would be diminished in that regard.
With Johnson gone, it’s entirely plausible James now sees an opportunity to increase his influence within the Lakers organization, especially given he was said to be already attempting to exert power over it earlier this season.
So, with that in mind, another pressing question the Lakers ought to be considering is how much influence will the organization allow James to wield in the search for Johnson’s replacement?