As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle in the 2018-19 NBA season, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Luke Walton could soon be fired as the team’s head coach. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson recently held a meeting where he reportedly “shouted and cursed” at Walton, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
After the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Kawhi Leonard-less Toronto Raptors, Magic Johnson explained in an interview with ESPN that their meeting wasn’t all about Coach Luke Walton, but more on improving the team’s performance, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Johnson assured that Walton will remain as their head coach for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season.
“Yeah, we’re not going to fire him,” Johnson said.
“[The meeting last week with Walton] wasn’t even a meeting about that. We just have to be better, and that was it.”
However, in his previous interview with the Los Angeles Times, Magic Johnson said that Luke Walton will keep his job “unless something drastic happens.” When asked what he considers as drastic circumstances, Johnson declined to give any details.
“No, not going into that,” Johnson said with a laugh. “He’s our coach, we supporting him, and that’s it.”
With the team mostly consisting of new faces, Magic Johnson already knew that the Lakers will go through lots of ups and downs earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, Johnson wants them to continue improving their performance on both ends of the floor. Johnson believes he’s only doing his job in holding Coach Luke Walton accountable for their recent struggle, and his only regret was the meeting became public.
Walton is aware of the rumors about his uncertain future with the Lakers. Since the speculations started, Walton received lots of support from different people, including his father, Bill Walton, and other coaches. Walton denied that his recent meeting with Magic Johnson made his job as the Lakers’ head coach harder and said that it won’t have any effect on his approach with the team.
“I have my job to coach this team and the support is nice, obviously, whether it is coming from my dad or it is coming from another coach,” Walton said.
“It’s nice, but it doesn’t change what I am doing as far as the job and coaching this team and these players. It doesn’t influence that at all.”
As of now, Coach Luke Walton has lots of works to do in order to turn the Lakers into a legitimate playoff contender in the deep Western Conference. Walton is still trying to figure out what lineups work best for the team and how to maximize the effectiveness of LeBron James on the court. On Wednesday night, the Lakers are set to face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.