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article imageWarriors assistant to become head coach of rival L.A. Lakers

By Nathan Salant     Apr 30, 2016 in Sports
Los Angeles - It's hard to blame the Los Angeles Lakers for trying to get in on a good thing — the Golden State Warriors are obviously doing something right.
The Warriors, after all, are the reigning National Basketball League champions and set a record for wins this season.
In that light, the Lakers' decision to hire a top assistant from their downstate rivals is more understandable.
The Lakers announced Friday that Luke Walton, assistant to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, would become the 26th head coach of the Southern California franchise.
Walton, who played for the Lakers for eight years and won two league championships in Los Angeles, takes over the Lakers at the conclusion of the 2016 NBA playoffs.
“I’m incredibly happy for Luke,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in a written statement.
“He’s certainly ready for this opportunity, and I’m confident he’ll do a great job with the Lakers once our season is complete,” he said.
Walton's promotion was especially logical considering his 39-4 record as interim coach to start this season when Kerr was recovering from back surgery.
“As we witnessed earlier this season, he has all the intangibles necessary to be an outstanding head coach in this league, including a terrific understanding of the game and the ability to communicate with a wide range of people," Kerr said.
Walton will be the second Warriors assistant to leave in the past year; former top-assistant Alvin Gentry left in June to become head coach of New Orleans Pelicans.
“Luke has done an incredible job during his two-year stint with our team and has played a significant role in our success, including last year’s championship and again this season under some very unique circumstances,” said Bob Myers, the Warriors general manager.
The unexpected hiring apparently happened quickly last week. the newspaper said..
Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers general manager, asked to speak to Walton after Los Angeles fired longtime Laker Byron Scott on Sunday and the Warriors agreed to the meeting on Wednesday after Golden State won its opening round playoff series over Houston.
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” Kupchak said in an article posted on the team’s website, the newspaper said.
Scott played 11 seasons with the Lakers.
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