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Report: Luke Walton seen as top potential replacement for Igor Kokoskov if he’s fired

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Sporting News is reporting Luke Walton could be the Suns’ new head coach if they move on from Igor Kokoskov.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be easily in the playoffs this season with the historic free agent signing of LeBron James, but instead they’re now full-on tanking as that goal is now out of reach. With plenty of changes expected in Los Angeles this offseason, one of those moves is expected to be firing head coach Luke Walton.

In three seasons as the head voice of Hollywood’s favorite basketball team, Walton’s record is only 92-140 (39.7 winning percentage). Before then, Walton led the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record as interim coach during the 2015-16 season when Steve Kerr was rehabilitating his back injury.

Well, according to Sporting News’ national NBA reporter Sean Deveney, Walton might be in line to be the Suns’ Plan A at head coach if they move on from Igor Kokoskov after just one season. Deveney also mentioned that Cleveland will be interested in Walton’s services as well.

This would be an interesting move for the Suns to make, especially after their recent turnaround after losing 17 consecutive games before rattling off five of their last eight. Three of those wins were against Walton’s Lakers, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference (Warriors), and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference (Bucks).

If you remember John Gambadoro’s report last month mentioning Kokosokov might’ve been coaching for his job against Miami, which the Suns ultimately won, there’s been some smoke around this topic before. Co-Interim GM James Jones then came out later in the week saying Kokoskov would remain through the rest of the season.

Who knows how big of a role Jones played in hiring Kokoskov alongside former GM Ryan McDonough, but if he stays onboard as the head honcho in the Suns’ front office he could possibly want to hire his own coach. Jones and Walton were actually in the same draft class in 2003 separated by 17 picks (Walton - No. 32; Jones - No. 49).

Before he was drafted, Walton played at the University of Arizona. Suns owner Robert Sarver is also an alum.

The way Phoenix plays over these final 13 games might play a role in what happens with Kokoskov’s job security — over 50 percent of these matchups will be against teams below .500 — so we’ll definitely keep monitoring this situation.

Personally, with the way we’ve seen development out of the young core since the All-Star break, moving on from Kokoskov now seems like a bad idea. The Suns’ third head coach in three seasons is seemingly starting to click with the players revolving around his intricate offensive system right now.

Poll

Who would you rather be the head coach of the Phoenix Suns next season?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Igor Kokoskov
    (584 votes)
  • 14%
    Luke Walton
    (102 votes)
686 votes total Vote Now