Only days after Magic Johnson shocked the basketball world and stepped down as the President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, the organization has announced they will part ways with coach Luke Walton as well.
Walton leaves the team in his third season, with two years remaining on his five-year contract and finished his tenure in L.A. with a record of 98-148. There was massive expectations this season with LeBron James on the roster, but the team squandered the opportunity and finished with a record of 37-45.
Though controlling owner Jeanie Buss was behind Luke, it seems like both sides came to an agreement to leave amicably, and move on from each other.
In a statement, Walton said this:
“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers. This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”
Though many people put the blame on Coach Luke for this season, he did a pretty good job considering the pieces management put around him. The signing of JaVale Mcgee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley was a head scratcher in many NBA circles, but Walton did what he could.
Candidates for the job now include the likes of Ty Lue, Mark Jackson and possibly even Brian Shaw, who was an assistant to Walton this past season.
Whoever replaces him, will have massive expectations, especially since the team has not made the playoffs in six seasons. With an aging LBJ in the fold, this summer will be crucial for the Lakers future.
Sixers assistant Monty Williams joins Ty Lue as the central candidates in the Lakers search, league sources tell ESPN. Process is expected to center on them.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
Rob Pelinka issued this statement on behalf of the Lakers: “We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years. We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.” When Magic Johnson resigned, it was Jeanie Buss issuing the statement.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 12, 2019