The swirling emotions and quickly evolving job descriptions hardly has allowed Luke Walton to think.
Two days after nursing frustration over the Golden State Warriors losing Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Luke Walton morphed from Warriors assistant to Lakers head coach. So, Walton has not exactly ironed out specifics on if he will be coach the Lakers’ summer league team, or who will represent his coaching staff.
Yet, Walton has determined he will be “heavily involved in practice” when the Lakers begin summer league play on July 8 in Las Vegas. He believed he will fill out his coaching staff “before summer league starts.” Walton also has hired Brian Shaw as his lead assistant, while player development coaches Mark Madsen, Thomas Scott and J.J. Outlaw have worked with players at the Lakers’ practice facility.
“These are all things that normally would’ve been taken care of by now,” Walton said. “But because of the circumstances and the Lakers being so great about not pressing me, I had work to do. We’re still slowly working on it.”
The Lakers hired Walton on April 29, less than a week after Byron Scott was fired amid a combined 38-126 record. But Walton would not assume his new duties until the Warriors were eliminated in the NBA playoffs. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak joked Walton could have started earlier, Golden State trailed the Oklahoma City Thunder, 3-1, in the Western Conference Finals and led the Cleveland Cavaliers, 3-1, in the NBA Finals.
“A lot of times the best way to get on and let go of something that is really painful is to jump into your next challenge,” Kupchak said.