HoopsHype Luke Walton rumors

March 8, 2012 Updates

Walton understands that he makes a good living, taking home $5.7 million this season and $5.8 million next season, the final part of the six-year, $30 -million contract he signed in 2007 after averaging a career-high 11.4 points. He'd like to feel he was earning it. "I want to play, badly," he said. "Basketball is the biggest part of my life and that's what I really, thoroughly enjoy doing." Los Angeles Times

January 16, 2012 Updates
January 11, 2012 Updates

Luke Walton has become a cross to bear in the eyes of many Lakers fans with a contract paying him $5.7 million this season and $5.8 million next season. But Walton’s back problems have eased up this season, and he showed glimpses in the first half Tuesday night against Phoenix of what he once was: a heady player with good handle and great feel for where his teammates are on the floor. Because Josh McRoberts (toe) and Troy Murphy (stomach) were unavailable, Walton got a chance and did well enough to play 13-plus minutes in the first half for new coach Mike Brown, even though Walton in his career has mostly been connected to Phil Jackson. Orange County Register

January 2, 2012 Updates

Luke Walton has learned that a coach's work is never done. Nearly a month after he left his job as a temporary assistant at the University of Memphis to rejoin the Lakers, Walton continues to coach from afar. "I get random texts from certain [players] and after a game, if I'm able to watch it, I'll send some texts out to some of the guys with some thoughts," Walton said. College basketball used to be an afterthought to Walton except during the NCAA tournament. Not anymore. Now Walton said he will watch the Tigers whenever he can, even if it means finding a sports bar with satellite television. He also continues to correspond with Memphis Coach Josh Pastner, a former teammate of Walton's at Arizona. Los Angeles Times

Walton said working as an assistant intensified his interest in coaching after his playing career ends. He is under contract for two more seasons with the Lakers. "It was a lot more challenging than I thought — the hours were a lot longer than I realized," Walton said, "but I had a real good time doing it so it definitely made my interest level go up." Los Angeles Times

December 2, 2011 Updates

Walton said his chronically sore back was not forcing him into early retirement. "I expect to be on the court," he said in a phone interview with The Times. "I can fight through any pain I have and finish up the contract. I feel great right now, so there's no reason to believe I won't be able to play and help out the squad." Walton, 31, has two years and $11.5 million left on his contract. World Peace, 32, has three years and $21.5 million remaining. Los Angeles Times

Walton said he ignored reports that he might be waived. "I felt there's a chance it could happen, but everything I've heard is that Mitch [Kupchak] isn't using it this year," Walton said, referring to the Lakers' general manager. "I think it's great. Our team is fine. We don't need big change. If you ask anyone on our team, we feel very confident that our window is not closed and we could win another championship before it does close. "People flip out because we didn't go to the Finals last year, but if you take a step back and look at the big picture, we went to three straight NBA Finals and won two of them. We were the No. 2 seed in the West [last season] and got beat by a good team that ended up winning it all and got really hot against us." Los Angeles Times

December 1, 2011 Updates
November 30, 2011 Updates

It remains unclear how the Lakers' roster will look now up through their season opener Christmas Day against the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers have plenty of unsigned players, including Shannon Brown, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter, Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff. They can exercise the so-called amnesty clause by shedding ties with Metta World Peace (three years, $21.5 million) or Luke Walton (two years, $11.46 million). Free agency beginning on Dec. 9 will also contribute to the frantic environment leading to opening day. Still, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak told The Times' Mike Bresnahan that both rookies Darius Morris and Goudelock "probably deserve a chance to be looked at, and [they] have promise." Los Angeles Times

November 27, 2011 Updates

Coach Josh Pastner said Saturday that assistant Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Lakers forward whom Pastner hired as a third assistant coach last August, will remain on staff at least through Memphis' Dec. 6 game at Miami (Fla.). Once a new collective bargaining agreement is signed, NBA training camps are expected to open Dec. 9, meaning Memphis (2-2) would have Walton through its next three games. Memphis Commercial Appeal

October 31, 2011 Updates

Despite some undeniable exasperation within the organization after the former Ron Artest's erratic play in 2010-11 -- followed up by his all-too-real name change to Metta World Peace -- sources say L.A. is targeting Walton (owed $11.5 million this season and next season) as its amnesty player. ESPN.com

Luke Walton looked like he was enjoying himself. The University of Memphis assistant coach's eyes were glued on Tigers sophomore forward Tarik Black, who was working on post moves along with Memphis' other frontcourt players in a recent practice at the Finch Center. After picking up a quick tip from Walton, Black had executed the move perfectly. Walton nodded and clapped his hands in approval. "TB, I promise you you're going to score a lot of points with that move right there," Walton said. "Now we're making moves with poise and under control. Weave through the defense like that and you're going to be at the foul line all night long." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Though he's disappointed the lockout has gone on this long, Walton, who plans to return to the NBA as soon as the lockout is over, said he's looking forward to the challenge of trying to help Memphis from the coaching bench, starting with Wednesday's exhibition opener against LeMoyne-Owen at FedExForum. "I've loved it," Walton said Sunday. "It's been better than I even imagined it would be. It's been a lot of fun working with these young men and with the city, and how into Memphis basketball they are. Everyone's been great as far as the fans and everything, and then really Coach P letting me do everything that a coach would do as far as recruiting, coaching in practice and being in charge of the bigs. He hasn't really stopped me from doing anything. He's let me go free rein and do whatever I feel is best, so it's been a great experience so far. Memphis Commercial Appeal

October 13, 2011 Updates
October 10, 2011 Updates

For Walton, the most annoying rule limits college coaches to only two hours a week with players during the off-season. Memphis coaches work with players on the court for about 30 minutes a day, four days a week, until practices officially begin next week. "By the time we get warm and going, we tell the kids they have to go," Walton said. "They want to get better, we're out here to help them get better, then they have to leave." Los Angeles Times

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