Storyline: Luke Walton Hot Seat?

23 rumors in this storyline

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, executives and agents are starting to question whether Walton is part of the Lakers’ plans for the future. “Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton. That is now crystal clear,” Windhorst told the Rich Eisen Show Friday. “And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me, executives, coaching agents, ‘I wonder who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach.’ “Because that has been revealed here that they don’t have unconditional support for Luke.”

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4 days ago via SLAM

LaVar Ball might have been right after all. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers do not support Luke Walton, and NBA executives and agents suspect David Fizdale will be Walton’s replacement. From the Rich Eisen Show (starting at 0:50): “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. And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me—executives, coaches, agents—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. I got executives in my ear, I got agents in my ear, saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale.’”

Yet despite LaVar’s assertion to ESPN that the Lakers (13-27) were “not playing for Luke no more,” or that he’s “not connecting with one player,” a person with direct knowledge of the Lakers’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports that Walton’s job is not in danger and that the organization still has complete faith in the coach who is in the second season of a five-year, $25 million deal. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
7 days ago via ESPN

“It’s just a lot of white noise, in a sense,” added Kuzma, who scored 14 points in a 132-113 home win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday to snap a nine-game losing slide. “Luke is my guy. I love playing for him. I’m sure most of us love playing for him too. … We stand by Luke. I know the front office does.”

So what, if anything, might be the ripple effect of all of this? That part remains unclear, but the notion of all of LaVar’s noise about Walton leading to the coach’s demise is extremely unlikely. Not only is he in the second season of a five-year, $25 million deal, but the Lakers – who have changed coaches four times since May of 2011 – have learned the hard way in recent years that coaching changes aren’t the magic elixir to all that ails them. In lieu of that, all the Lakers are left with is a whole lot of unnecessary negativity that could do damage beyond this season.

Walton did his best to diffuse the latest LaVar situation at the team’s shootaround on Sunday, saying “I’m fine with it. It doesn’t bother me. My only concern with any of it is for ‘Zo. As long as ‘Zo is fine with it, and ‘Zo can come in and play and it doesn’t affect mine and his relationship, then it doesn’t bother me at all.” But there was plenty to be gleaned from what he didn’t say, from those hesitations that came after the team’s beat writers lobbed all the relevant questions. There’s simply no way this isn’t affecting their relationship now, and Lonzo’s tepid responses on Sunday surely won’t do much to help on this front.
1 week ago via ESPN

Walton, whose team ended a nine-game losing streak with a 132-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, disagreed with LaVar’s latest criticism of him. Walton, who said Friday morning that he is not coaching as if his job is on the line, was asked whether he has received assurances from anyone in Lakers upper management. “Yeah. We’re, I feel, very secure in my job status right now,” Walton said. “We talk all the time. They’re 100 percent behind and supporting what we’re doing.”
1 week ago via ESPN

“I know they have my back,” Walton said of Lakers management. “Whatever those meetings [with LaVar Ball in the past] are, I’m not concerned with those. My concerns are coaching our team and prepping for games and working with what gives us the best chance of winning. I know our front office and organization. They’ll do whatever they have to do on their end of it, but I’m not spending my time trying to figure out what they’re all doing about it. I just know they’ll take care of it.”

LaVar torched Lakers coach Luke Walton from the other side of the planet this weekend, as the Ball patriarch slammed the struggling Lakers for not wanting to play for Walton, who he said was “too young,” who “doesn’t have control of the team,” and was incapable of “connecting” with the team. Lonzo was asked outright if he likes playing for Walton, to which he answered, “I’ll play for anybody.” “My job is to play basketball,” Lonzo added. “I don’t decide who the coach is.”
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