Jeanie Buss avoids question about Luke Walton's future with Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has no interest in talking about head coach Luke Walton’s future with the team. Buss appeared on the Sports Business Radio Road Show on Tuesday, where she discussed Walton, but avoided a question about Walton’s future.
During the wide-ranging interview, Buss does discuss Walton’s importance to the Lakers as both a player and a coach, and says he’s done “an incredible job under a lot of challenging circumstances.”
But when Buss sensed she was about to be asked about Walton’s future, she declined to answer the question, according to the Sporting News.
As for what's next for Walton? Buss sidestepped questions about the speculation. The interviewer began by asking: "If he were to be the coach going forward ... ” But Buss cut him off and said, "I’m not gonna answer that question.
“We’re as tight as any two people, any two executives,” she added. “We’ve got a mission and a purpose of what we’re trying to do and we’re not done yet but I think we’re going in the right direction. In terms of basketball decisions, I will always defer to Magic.”
The 39-year-old Walton has been on the hot seat most of the season. While the Lakers got off to a strong start, things quickly fell apart after LeBron James injured his groin during a Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers could never recover from James’ absence, and failed to make it to the postseason. Many have speculated Walton will be let go at the end of the season. Snoop Dogg even called for Walton’s firing during the year.
The Lakers — and Buss — gave Walton the season to try and right the ship. That never happened, and with just four games to go, Walton’s time with the organization might come to an end soon. He’s heavily favored to be fired as the Lakers’ head coach once the season is over.
It might not matter who the team hires as Walton’s replacement. James and the Lakers are expected to go after at least one big ticket free agent during the offseason. If James can convince another superstar to join the Lakers, the new coach would have a significantly easier job leading the Lakers to the postseason.
Walton does, of course, deserve some blame for the way things have gone. But as Buss mentioned, Walton’s also dealt with a fair amount of injuries this season.
Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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