Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss wants to preach patience with her team. Though the Lakers have struggled without LeBron James, Buss could be the reason Luke Walton sticks around to see things through, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
If Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka wanted to get rid of Walton due to the team’s recent struggles, Stein says Buss would prevent that from happening:
“It is also an open secret in Lakerland that Walton has the strongest possible backing from the owner Jeanie Buss. Even if the front office tandem of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka held Walton responsible for the Lakers’ swoon and wanted to make an in-season change, Buss almost certainly would prevent such rashness.”
Prior to James’ injury, the Lakers were 20-14. Without the 34-year-old superstar, the Lakers are 3-7. Over the past 10 games, Walton’s critics have gotten louder, especially after the team dropped games to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.
Following the team’s loss to the Cavs on Sunday, Walton teased some changes might be coming to the starting lineup. Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tyson Chandler and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would replace JaVale McGee and Josh Hart in the starting lineup.
It’s important to note that Stein says Buss will not allow Walton to be fired due to the team’s most recent bad streak. He doesn’t guarantee Walton will last through the entire season. It’s implied that Buss won’t let Walton be the scapegoat for the team struggling without its best player.
It’s unclear when the Lakers will get James back. The team will provide an update on his status Wednesday.
James’ return would put more pressure on Walton to turn things around, but that pressure is nothing compared to what Walton and the Lakers have gone through over the past 10 games.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Packers reportedly make another puzzling hire
• Trump serves up bizarre WH spread for Clemson
• AFC championship game can expect an ‘arctic blast’
• Change is in the air as LeBron-less Lakers tumble