The Cleveland Cavaliers are adding a familiar face to their coaching staff. The Cavs are hiring Luke Walton as an assistant coach under head coach JB Bickerstaff, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Walton spent the final two years of his career as a player in Cleveland as he played 71 games for the Cavs between 2011 and 2013.
As a coach, Walton has some solid experience. He served as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors from 2014 to 2016, winning a ring with the team in 2015. He then served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers from 2016 to 2019 and he held the same role with the Sacramento Kings from 2019 to 2021. He was dismissed by the Kings in November after a 6-11 start to the season, and holds a 166-241 overall record as a head coach.
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Even though his record as a head coach isn’t great, Walton’s experience could be helpful in Cleveland as the Cavs are looking to climb back into contention in the Eastern Conference. In addition to winning a ring with the Warriors as an assistant in 2015, he also won two titles with the Lakers as a player, and thus is familiar with what it takes to win at the highest level, both as a coach and a player.
Though the Cavaliers ultimately missed the playoffs this season after losing in the play-in tournament, the team is still clearly headed in the right direction as they finished the season with a winning record (44-38) for the first time since the 2017-18 season — LeBron James‘ final campaign in Cleveland. Plus, guard Darius Garland was named to his first (and very likely not his last) All-Star team, as was center Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley finished second in Rookie of the Year voting after an extremely promising rookie campaign.
All three of those players are under 24 years old, so the expectation is that they’ll only continue to improve, and thus the organization’s outlook is an optimistic one. Now, Walton and the rest of the team’s assistants will be expected to help Bickerstaff take the Cavs to the next level.