NBA: Lakers get permission to approach Walton over coaching role

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton speaking with Stephen Curry during their NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb 20, 2016.
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton speaking with Stephen Curry during their NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb 20, 2016.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers have been given permission to speak to Golden State assistant coach Luke Walton over their vacant coaching job, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old will now be able to hold talks with the Lakers after the Golden State's 4-1 first round play-off series victory against the Houston Rockets.

The Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals following their 114-81 rout in Game 5 on Wednesday.

"We told Mitch that he's perfectly welcome to talk to Luke as soon as the series is over and we have a little break," Kerr said of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Walton, a former Lakers forward, became one of the most coveted coaching prospects in the National Basketball Association after leading the Warriors to a 39-4 start this season while Kerr was recovering from back surgery.

Should he join the Lakers, Walton would be reunited with a franchise where he spent the bulk of his playing career and was a member of two NBA title-winning teams.

He was also a part of the Warriors staff that helped the team capture a first NBA championship since 1975 last year.

The Lakers are looking to rebuild after firing head coach Byron Scott following a franchise-worst 17-65 season and bidding farewell to all-time great Kobe Bryant, who retired earlier this month after a glittering 20-year career in Los Angeles.

"It's not something that we want to drag out," Kupchak told reporters of the team's hiring process earlier this week.