For the most part, the talk about Luke Walton having lost control of the Los Angeles Lakers has quieted as the team has won three straight games since LaVar Ball said those words.
There are, however some lingering effects from the responses to those comments. Chief among them is the lack of response from the front office themselves.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have refused to comment on LaVar or publicly back Walton. Their silence has made some wonder if they aren’t exactly enthralled with the job Walton has done this season, especially considering the number of other coaches around the league who have spoken out on Walton’s behalf.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and said indications are the Lakers don’t fully support Walton, causing some around the league to wonder who will be their next coach:
“Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton. And that is now crystal clear. There are now guys out there wondering, openly to me, executives, coaching agents, wondering who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach. Because that has been revealed here, that they do not have unconditional support for Luke.”
Windhorst went one step further, saying that some believe the Lakers may be targeting Los Angeles native and former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale:
“Do you want to know what people are saying behind the scenes? Do you want to know what they’re saying? What coach has LeBron tweeted about most recently? What coach got fired this year and LeBron tweeted about him? Los Angeles native David Fizdale. Now, again this may not be true. The Lakers may intend to keep [Walton], but what I’m telling you is, the way the events have gone done, I’ve got executives and agents in my ear saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale.’ Again, it may not be true. They may intend to keep Luke.”
As Windhorst noted, this is all speculation as there are no indications that the Lakers intend on getting rid of Luke anytime soon.
LeBron James being a fan of Fizdale, who was an assistant in Miami when James was there, is no surprise, but the Lakers potentially hiring a new coach just to please LeBron could cause its own problems.
With the Lakers having such huge plans for this summer, rumors are always to be expected. But now, instead of just focusing on the players, the coach could be in danger as well.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB