The Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka.
"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years," said Pelinka. "We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward." "I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers," said Walton. "This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Luke Walton has two years left on his contract, but only next season is guaranteed, per source. Lakers hold option on 2020-21 season. Johnson planned to fire him, but stumbled into his own resignation on the way. Somehow, Walton survived Magic Johnson. He didn't see that coming.
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.
October 6, 2022 | 12:26 pm EDT Update
Miami has earned the benefit of the doubt. It will have a stout, switchable defense even with Tucker gone. (The Heat have interest in Jae Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.)
The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.
If Wednesday’s postgame words were any indication, he’ll hope respect begets respect and not demand anything from the referees. “I appreciate the refs,” Maxey said. “They’re great. They’ve been doing a great job. They’ve been tasked with a very hard job. A lot of our guys probably are tough on them. So they’re doing a great job and I have nothing but respect for every single ref in our league. “I just go out there and try to play hard, go to the rim, and sometimes draw contact, get to the line and help us move the scoreboard.”