A message of patience was thrown by the wayside in some regard last week when Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson reportedly met with head coach Luke Walton to chastise him over the team not having a clear-cut identity or system on offense.
The Lakers had just come off a winless road trip and were 2-5 heading into a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks. Although they were below .500, none of the losses had been by more than nine points and L.A. remained competitive in each game.
Johnson nonetheless felt it necessary to let into Walton. After a report of the meeting surfaced, Walton maintained his relationship with Lakers management was in good standing.
For Johnson’s part, there was a belief he would not make a sudden change at head coach. He since confirmed that sentiment, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A Times:
“I said it, Luke took it and we’re all good,” said Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations. “It’s no big deal.”
Johnson insisted that Walton is not on a clock.
“He’s going to finish the season,” Johnson said. “Unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”
Walton intimated he received “nice support” from other coaches. “My job is to coach this team, and the support is nice, whether it’s coming from my dad or another coach, but it doesn’t change what I’m doing as far as my job in coaching this team,” he said. “It doesn’t influence that at all.”
LeBron James and other players insisted the distraction was not one that would impact the team. The Lakers responded with back-to-back wins since the meeting.