Who Will be the Next Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers?

Following two of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Byron Scott will not be returning as the team’s head coach next year.

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Last season the Lakers finished the season with the second-worst record in the league (17-65), and their worst record in franchise history. In two seasons as head coach, Scott compiled a record of 38-126 straight up (23.2%) and 73-87 ATS (45.6%).

On Monday afternoon, BookMaker.eu opened odds on who will replace Scott as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Former Lakers forward Luke Walton is listed as the clear cut favorite at -200, followed by his former teammate Derek Fisher who has the second-lowest odds at +600.

The following day, Sportsbook.com also posted odds for the Lakers head coach, however, there were several major discrepancies. Not only were there nine additional candidates, but some of the odds varied greatly. Some of the most dramatic examples include:

  1. Luke Walton (+200 at Sportsbook.com, -200 at Bookmaker)
  2. Ettore Messina (+300 at Sportsbook.com, +1500 at Bookmaker)
  3. Derek Fisher (+2500 at Sportsbook.com, +600 at Bookmaker)
  4. Jeff Van Gundy (+2000 at Sportsbook.com, +800 at Bookmaker)

We should point out that Bookmaker is much sharper, more reliable, and takes larger limits than Sportsbook.com. At SportsbookReview.com, Bookmaker received an A+ rating while Sportsbook.com received a D- rating.

The table below compares the current odds at Bookmaker and Sportsbook.com. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Coach Bookmaker (4/26) Sportsbk (4/26) Bookmaker (4/25)
Luke Walton -200 +200 -185
Derek Fisher +600 +2500 +600
Mark Jackson +650 +1200 +650
Jeff Van Gundy +800 +2000 +800
Kevin Ollie +900 +400 +900
David Blatt +1000 +1000 +1500
Ettore Messina +1500 +300 +1350
John Calipari +2000 +1200 +2000
Phil Jackson +5000 +10000 +3000
Brian Shaw N/A +1200 N/A
Jeff Hornacek N/A +1500 N/A
Nate McMillan N/A +2500 N/A
Jay Wright N/A +4000 N/A
Becky Hammon N/A +5000 N/A
Monty Williams N/A +5000 N/A
Nancy Lieberman N/A +5000 N/A
Magic Johnson N/A +25000 N/A
Vinny Del Negro N/A +2500 N/A

The original list from Bookmaker includes two assistants vying for their first head coaching gig, a couple college coaches and several veteran coaches — some of whom haven’t been on the bench in years. Bettors may be interested to know that Mark Jackson (133-111 ATS, +15.39 units won) is the most profitable coach listed.

The Lakers may have put themselves at a disadvantage by waiting so long to announce Scott’s dismissal. Since the end of the regular season, two of the top available coaching candidates (Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks) have taken jobs elsewhere.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Luke Walton will be at the top of the Lakers wish list. He was beloved as a player and helped guide the Warriors to the second-best start in league history (39-4) while serving at the interim head coach. The real question is whether Walton would accept the job.

Although the Lakers have young talent with Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, they may be forced to send their first round draft pick to the 76ers if the ping pong balls don’t go their way. The team will be equipped with plenty of cap room, but it’s unclear whether any veterans would want to join this rebuilding effort.

Walton deserves to be the favorite, but there’s definitely value for some of the long-shot candidates. He may not be a household name, but Ettore Messina (+1500) is an accomplished coach with experience as a top coach in Europe and as an assistant with the Spurs and Lakers. It wouldn’t be a splashy hire, but he may be the best fit for this job.

It’s also interesting to see that former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt has seen his odds of coaching the Lakers improve from +1500 to +1000 in early action. Despite posting an 83-40 record (67.5%), Blatt was surprisingly fired earlier this season due to “a lack of fit with our personnel and our vision.”

What do you think? Who should the Lakers hire? Will they be able to land Luke Walton? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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