Dave McMenamin: Magic Johnson says the decision was not over Luke Walton’s job status. He says making this announcement, which, Jeanie Buss isn’t aware of yet, is a “monkey off my back.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers coaching staff fully expected to be fired in hours after the final game of the season. They had believed they were gone for months. Now? Magic quits in public, saying he's too scared to tell Jeanie Buss face-to-face. What an embarrassing episode for a historic franchise.
Tania Ganguli: Magic Johnson steps down as Lakers president. He hasn’t said it outright but is hinting strongly that he planned to fire Luke Walton and that won’t happen now. He is getting emotional and hasn’t told Jeanie yet he says.
Dave McMenamin: Luke Walton asked before Game 82 if he has any anxiety about his future with the Lakers: “No. No anxiety. ... But call me later tonight and maybe that answer will be different”
Bill Oram: Bill Walton is at the game tonight in a Lakers polo. He and wife Lori are here as “very proud parents,” he said. The uncomfortable subtext is that it is widely thought this could be Luke’s last game at the helm for the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss intends to let her front office of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka make the decision on whether to retain embattled coach Luke Walton after the season concludes, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
Buss has been one of Walton's staunchest allies during his three seasons in L.A. However, his working relationship with Johnson and Pelinka has not been as close. It has been "weeks" since Walton had a meaningful conversation with Johnson, according to team sources.
Marc Stein: Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard would indeed be a candidate for the Lakers' head coaching job, I'm told, if it opens as so many around the league have expected for weeks. Yet I'm also told he should not be billed as the frontrunner ... as some bookmakers have this week
Mike Fisher: Re the story of the #Lakers seeking to steal coach Rick Carlisle from the #Mavs - I asked owner @Mark Cuban for his thoughts. 'LOL,' he responded. 'Would you like to expand on that?' I asked. 'Nope,' Cuban said. 'LOL. That's my quote.' Full story coming to DallasBasketball.com pic.twitter.com/sy41OQKrNC
The Clippers’ Doc Rivers isn’t the only championship (and currently employed) coach said to interest the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m told that the Lakers, who are widely expected to dismiss the beleaguered Luke Walton at season’s end, are also big fans of Dallas’ Rick Carlisle.
Who, then, will the Lakers hire? The name most frequently cited in league coaching circles is the very available Tyronn Lue. Lue, of course, is a former Laker who is better known for having coached LeBron James for 2 1/2 seasons in Cleveland. The presumed acceptance he would have from James, who is about to begin his first postseason as a spectator since 2005, would appear to give Lue with a significant advantage over the rest of the field.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers did a short extension over the summer that allowed both sides a chance to escape deal in 2019. As Rivers told reporters, that's been replaced with a longer-term deal. For Rivers, Lakers were never a consideration. He wanted to crush that talk today.
Dan Woike: Doc Rivers said he and Steve Ballmer have agreed to an extension. Extension originally had an out this summer, but that’s been scrapped. “This is a great place to work.”
The Suns have not committed to bringing first-year coach Igor Kokoskov back for next season, and with just 16 wins, Phoenix could take a step backward in a season in which improvement was expected. A source told Sporting News that Walton, who starred at Arizona, is seen as a top potential replacement for Kokoskov should the Suns make a move.
But Walton could look elsewhere for opportunities, given the apparent dysfunction in Phoenix. According to sources, the Cavaliers will seek a coach who can develop the franchise’s young players, particularly point guard Collin Sexton and whomever the Cavs select in this year’s draft. Should Cleveland land a top-three pick, the job will look much better.
It was James’ associates, remember, who tried to get the Lakers to hire former Heat assistant David Fizdale (who went to the Knicks) last spring before James joined the team, an idea that was quickly nixed by Buss. And while James might want to retread his old coach, former Lakers guard Tyronn Lue, or his old Olympic teammate, Jason Kidd, Johnson may want a push for Michigan State coach and friend Tom Izzo, who’s given no indication he wants to leave the collegiate ranks. Expect Buss, who has backed Walton all year, to support a reasonable, qualified head coach who can please multiple factions, like Monty Williams.
December 3, 2020 | 8:00 am EST Update
All-NBA forward Anthony Davis is finalizing a five-year, $190 million maximum contract to stay with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, Klutch Sports CEO and founder Rich Paul told ESPN. The deal includes an early termination option prior to the fifth year of the deal in 2024-25, Paul said.
Davis, a free agent, is expected to sign the contract as soon as Thursday. He considered several short- and long-term contract scenarios before accepting a full five-year, maximum offer, sources said. At 27 years old, Davis is the co-star of the Lakers with LeBron James — and the centerpiece of the franchise’s long-term future. Davis’ arrival in a trade with New Orleans to join James elevated the Lakers out of six straight seasons in the draft lottery and hurtled them toward an eventual 2019-20 NBA championship.
December 3, 2020 | 6:23 am EST Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Russell Westbrook wanted to be in Washington, reunited with Scott Brooks, play with Brad Beal and John Wall wanted to play with James Harden, wanted to go to Houston. And finally they got that deal done.
Leonsis had also come to believe that Wall was, often if not always, “too cool for school,” in his thinking. And, the shirtless video of Wall at a party this summer, flashing gang signs, was the last straw. (Again, as I wrote two weeks ago: Leonsis was a thousand percent right in being furious with his 30-year-old face of the franchise for doing such a dumb thing.) This was not a decision that could be made by GM Tommy Sheppard, or his equivalent in Houston, Rafael Stone. “At the end of the day, this is a Ted call,” one source said.
A lot of people — a lot — who’ve been in D.C. more than 10 minutes, and who have roots here, came to love Wall, what he did for poor people and families in the parts of town many don’t care about. How he was clearly flawed but owned it, how he wore his heart on his sleeve and cried openly — when he signed his max extension, when his mother was sick, when a little girl he’d befriended died. And how he played in the playoffs with a broken hand, and how he led Washington to within a game of the Eastern Conference finals, and jumped on the scorer’s table after winning that Game 6 in 2017 over Boston, and how the crowd roared that night, having a legit contender in town for the first time in God knows how long, and the point guard and the crowd both hoping the night, and the feeling that washed over the building, would never end.
John Hollinger: Best practice guy we ever had. One story: Once, during a shooting competition, he’s looking for somebody to talk shit to besides his opponent, and sees me on the sideline. So he starts yelling “the PER formula does NOT account for this!” after every make.
Today, Junior’s net worth is an estimated $600 million, and he is listed as the second wealthiest NBA player behind none other than Michael Jordan. Money is not everything, yes, but in today’s climate, it’s necessary to detail how a man from humble beginnings in Indiana obtained a heightened level of success without a major shoe deal, making no more than $350,000 in any of his 12 NBA seasons playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers. Don’t get it confused: Junior was no slouch on the court. At 6-5 and with a silky-smooth jumper, he was a back-to-back Missouri Valley Player of the Year, reached the Final Four at Louisville, was drafted No. 8 overall in the 1975 NBA draft and was one of the best sixth men of his era. His No. 2 jersey is raised in the rafters of the Milwaukee Bucks’ arena.