The Lakers hire Luke Walton, get unreal roster building advice from Magic Johnson
Sure, Celtics fans are thirsting for some "fireworks" this summer. Prepare to hear plenty of rumors about Demarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, and a the pursuit of a certain free agent out of OKC. Danny Ainge has been stockpiling assets for years with the hope it all adds up to hooking a big fish that leads the Celtics back into title contention. There's no doubt that the Celtics are improving, Brad Stevens has gone from 25 wins > 40 wins and a playoff appearance > 48 wins and two playoff victories. While this year's result may have been a little shy of what fans wanted to see, it was in line with expectation and the rebuild is still very much on course.
The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, are a mess. The second worst team in the league behind the historically putrid 76ers, the Lakers played out Kobe's farewell season under Byron Scott like a series of exhibitions starring Kobe. It certainly wasn't a season about team building. The most exciting thing that didn't involve Kobe's epic gunning was rookie DeAngelo Russell getting blackballed by his teammates for outing Nick Young's infidelity to Iggy Azalea and breaking "guy code." Good times.
The Lakers offseason is off and running with the signing of Luke Walton as their head coach.
Luke Walton becomes the first 1980s-born head coach of a major American professional sports team.— jeffpearlman (@jeffpearlman) April 30, 2016
Luke Walton turned a brief gig as interim composer of the symphony that was the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors into coaching the second most decorated franchise in NBA history. The 36 year old Walton, who played for the Lakers from 2003-2012 before retiring in 2013, spent a season in the D-League as a player development coach, and joined Steve Kerr on the Golden State Warriors bench in 2014. While Walton was on the bench for Golden State's 39-4 start and deserves credit for holding down the fort, it's unclear how much puppeteering Kerr was doing from behind the curtain. No matter how much credit you want to give Walton for the Warrior's early season run of excellence, Walton will be going from coaching one of the best teams of all-time to the worst in the history of the Lakers franchise. Metta World Peace played in 35 games for them, so their roster might need a little tender loving care.
Luckily for the Lakers, legend Magic Johnson has some pro tips for the Lakers rebuilding effort:
Laker Nation: The first free agent the Lakers should go after is Kevin Durant.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Laker Nation: I would love to see Kevin Durant in the Purple & Gold!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Laker Nation: The Lakers should call LeBron James agent. We know he's going stay in CLE but they should go after him just in case he leaves.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
So to review. Step 1: Sign 36 year-old Luke Walton to coach. Step 2: Sign Kevin Durant and Lebron James. Step 3: Showtime.
Kevin Durant and Lebron James won't leave situations where they are competing in the Conference Semifinals in their prime to play in LA for a coach with no track record and a roster full of unproven young guys and Brandon Bass. Because that makes no sense.
Say whatever you want about the delusional green colored glasses of Celtics fans, the Celtics are well set-up for the future. Magic and Lakers fans want to cut to the front of the line of NBA contention, but it's far more likely that the Lakers and Walton have a few seasons of growing pains before they return to relevance.
Kevin Durant and Lebron James are not walking through that door.