The Los Angeles Lakers have been a losing team for most of the season, and with that, the job security of a head coach will always end up coming into question eventually. Thus, it’s a scenario Luke Walton hasn’t been spared from.
In the face of LaVar Ball alleging that Walton had lost the locker room, a report that the Lakers might look to former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale to replace Walton bubbled to the surface.
After initially responding with silence rather than dignifying those reports, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson took to Twitter to offer endorsements for Walton. Absent, from that chorus of support, though referenced in dinner plans, was Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
But the first-year executive was just waiting for his appearance on Spectrum SportsNet’s “Connected With…” to reaffirm his support for his head coach:
“Luke’s done a tremendous job, we fully support him. Magic, myself, Jeanie. At the same time, all of us, me as a GM, Magic as a team president, Luke as a coach, we all want to become better. Every day we want to get better. The great players in the game, Lakers like Magic and Kobe, they would challenge themselves every offseason. ‘How do I return as a better version of myself?’ Luke pushes us to be better in the front office, we push him to be better as a coach. We’re all judged by whether or not we can get that trophy. And we’re judged by the wins and losses. We all want to stay together and continue to get better as a group.”
The only evidence the Lakers need that Pelinka’s Kobe-inspired mindset of constantly seeking improvement is necessary is looking at their own record this season, which despite a few periods of ups has mostly just been stuffed with defeats.
It sounds like for now, the Lakers are going to look for improvement with Walton in the fold. But given that Johnson and Pelinka didn’t hire Walton and the stereotype that new front offices always want to bring in “their guys,” it’s probably only a matter of time before Pelinka is having to bat down similar reports of the team considering a coaching change.
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