Since the moment LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, it felt as though head coach Luke Walton was on the hot seat. Not only because of the stigma that’s followed James when it’s come to coaches, but also because expectations drastically changed.
Factor in that Walton was not hired by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka, and some considered a change inevitable.
Walton’s job has seemingly been a daily topic of conversation this season, and it seems that almost every day there’s a new report from the Lakers front office that contradicts the last one. At one point, it appeared certain that Johnson and Pelinka were ready to replace Walton with someone of their choosing.
Now, it might be that James and his camp are ready for the Lakers to move on from Walton, as ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan explained on the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast:
“There’s a lot of tension in that building. A lot of tension in that building. And I think people are wondering about Luke Walton even though Jeanie Buss came out very strongly and said, ‘I want Luke to be here. I back him 100 percent.’ But then also made the point that has to be made, and that’s that she hired Earvin Magic Johnson to make these decisions, and if Earvin feels differently, she gave him the power to make those kind of decisions. It’s clear to me, and probably to you Brian, that LeBron’s camp would prefer a coaching change. They’re not too subtle about that.”
Through all of the speculation, there seems to be only one certainty, and that is Lakers owner Jeanie Buss being firmly behind Walton as the head coach. Buss recently gave Walton yet another public vote of confidence by explaining the entire front office and franchise was behind him.
However, when asked if Walton would absolutely finish the regular season as head coach, she deferred to Johnson.
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