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Luke Walton on way out as Lakers head coach?


PhilBoxing.com





Expectations were sky-high when LeBron James became a Laker, but the team?s 3-5 start look to have worried the Los Angeles front office.

The James and the Lakers? opening week showing should not come as a shock considering that he and his teammates also started slow when he joined the Miami Heat and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams eventually captured NBA titles.

Veterans have reportedly been frustrated with the way Walton is shuffling lineups, although his job, understandably, hasn?t been easy with Lonzo Ball on a minutes restriction following offseason knee surgery and two players having served suspensions for their roles in a brawl earlier.

The Lakers have not gotten off to the start they had hoped for when they signed James over the summer, and it looks like president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, was, reportedly, already losing his patience.

Reports from ESPN?s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin had it that, in a meeting on Tuesday, Johnson laid into head coach Luke Walton after the Lakers lost consecutive road games to the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Johnson?s tone in the meeting was described as ?aggressive,? and some within the organization say it was consistent with his ?volatile management style? and the way he has handled Walton and the coaching staff.

Team owner Jeanie Buss, who has been outspoken with her support of Walton, was made aware of the tense nature of the meeting.

The Lakers somewhat recovered by grinding out a 114-113 home win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, and those close to Walton said there was a major sigh of relief that the team did not lose three in-a-row going into their Saturday (Sunday in Mania) dates the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors next week.

While the meeting between Johnson and Walton may have been nothing more than frustration boiling over, speculation is running high that Walton could be among NBA coaches who are considered on the hot seat.

The pressure to win with LeBron is tremendous, and the son of NBA great Bill Walton, a former Laker himself, could be the first to go if the team can?t find ways to do that.

Johnson may not be happy with the way the Lakers are playing, but his job apparently is not on the line yet, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angele Times, team ownership is firmly behind Walton and Johnson is not close to firing him.

?Magic Johnson was angry in the meeting he had with Luke Walton (first reported by @wojespn and @mcten) but he doesn't make rush decisions. Several sources told me and @BA_Turner that Luke Walton's job is not in danger. Further, ownership still very much believes in him,? Ganguli reported.

?That angry meeting sounds like a warning shot from Johnson. For now, Walton appears secure. If the Lakers continue to lose, it?s reasonable that this could change very quickly, but for now, reports that Walton is essentially coaching for his job appear to be premature.? she added.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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