Coaching searches work a lot like free agency in the NBA: There is a lot of behind the scenes reaching out, assessing of interest, and preliminary legwork done long before the formal interviews start. To put it another way, teams that have not even fired their coaches yet have reached out to Scott Brooks and other elite coaches to judge potential interest and talk fit.
So the fact Phil Jackson has reached out to Warriors’ assistant Luke Walton shouldn’t be a shock. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details.
Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton already has interviewed with several teams about their head-coaching vacancies, including the Knicks and Nets, according to multiple NBA sources. Walton had pulled himself out of consideration for the Nets before they announced the hiring of Kenny Atkinson on Sunday.
According to a source, Knicks president Phil Jackson has spoken with Walton in a phone interview…
A league source said Walton could stay with the Warriors another season, and he isn’t close to deciding what to do.
The Warriors are not going to stand in the way of Walton taking a head coaching job anywhere he wishes to go, and Walton certainly will have options. But know that the Warriors are not terribly concerned about losing Walton to the Knicks where Jackson wants him to run the triangle offense. If you just spent the last couple seasons with a front row seat to the Stephen Curry and the small ball revolution, would you want to run the triangle?
Walton is going to take his time with any decision — remember Alvin Gentry didn’t make his decision to leave Golden State for New Orleans and the lure of Anthony Davis and great gumbo until the Finals in June. Walton may be on a similar timeline, if he decides to leave Golden State at all. But you can be sure that a number of teams — including the Lakers, if and when they make a coaching change — will be putting in a call. If they haven’t already.