Lakers’ interviews with Monty Williams, Tyronn Lue leave lasting impressions on both sides

Monty Williams interviewed with the Lakers on Thursday and the Suns on Friday.
(John G. Mabanglo / EPA )

The last two people the Lakers interviewed for their head-coaching vacancy — Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams on Thursday and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on Wednesday — were impressed by how thorough the Lakers’ contingent was during their conversations with both men, according to people familiar with the talks.

Neither Williams nor Lue was offered the job and neither was given a timetable on when the Lakers will make their decision, said the people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The coaching position has been open since April 12, when the Lakers and Luke Walton agreed to mutually part ways. Walton was hired to coach the Sacramento Kings a few days later.


Both Williams and Lue came away feeling good about how they presented themselves to the Lakers in their talks that each went about three hours.

The Lakers contingent that traveled to meet Williams on Thursday in Philadelphia not only included Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka, but co-owners Joey Buss (who runs the Lakers’ G League South Bay Lakers team) and Jesse Buss (the Lakers’ assistant general manager and director of scouting), chief operating officer Tim Harris, director of special projects Linda Rambis and senior advisor Kurt Rambis as well.

The group found that Williams, whose connection to Lakers star LeBron James came when they were involved with Team USA at the same time, was forthright and very likable during his interview. Williams liked that the Lakers’ group went over a lot of different things about the franchise.

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The Lakers have competition for Williams, who interviewed on Friday in Toronto for the Phoenix Suns coaching job. The 76ers meet the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday.

Williams was the head coach of New Orleans for five seasons, posting a 173-221 record that included two trips to the playoffs, including one with All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who will be a trade target of several teams, likely including the Lakers.


During Lue’s interview session at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo on Wednesday, a lasting impression was left on both parties involved in the discussions, according to the people.

Lue, who played for the Lakers and won two NBA titles with them in 2000 and 2001, was sincere about wanting the job, the people said. He showed them offensive sets and defensive scheme during his conversations with the group.

Lue was coach of the Cavaliers for three-plus seasons, putting together a record of 128-83. He was fired this season after an 0-6 start.

Lue and James helped Cleveland win a title in 2016 and reached three consecutive NBA Finals.

Miami assistant coach Juwan Howard also impressed the Lakers during his interview Tuesday at the practice facility in El Segundo, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

Howard was a teammate of James with the Miami Heat for two-plus seasons and was an assistant coach when James played for the Heat.


Former Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd interviewed for the Lakers job Monday at the practice facility.

The Lakers have missed the playoffs for the last six consecutive seasons and are looking for a coach to lead the proud franchise back to the postseason.

Whoever is hired will be the Lakers’ fifth coach in the last eight seasons.

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