This is bad news for Luke Walton.
There have been mixed reactions from sources around the Lakers as to the future of Luke Walton as the Lakers’ coach this season. There is one camp that sees him as a dead coach walking, we will call this “camp Magic” because it seems tied to sources around team president Magic Johnson, who inherited Walton as the coach and called him out in a meeting seven games into a season. Then there is a second camp that sees the injuries and the situation Walton was put in and doesn’t scapegoat him for the Lakers’ disappointing season, a camp that sees his future with the team as more of a coin flip. We’ll call this “camp Jeanie” after Jeanie Buss, the Lakers owner and one of Walton’s biggest supporters.
Buss went on a podcast for the Sports Business Radio Road Show taped at Loyola Marymount University, and of course, was asked about Walton (hat tip Dave McMenamin of ESPN). Her answer, while noncommittal on the surface, does not bode well for Walton.
“I’m not going to give you the answer to that question,” Buss said when asked about Walton…
“In terms of basketball decisions, I will always defer to Magic,” Buss said. “He’s brought a vision of the kind of team we’re going to build and a vision of what Lakers basketball is going to be. And I think you can see that. But we’re still building that roster that will get us there.”
We can discuss Magic’s vision and roster building skills another time.
For Walton, if Magic is making the call then he is almost certainly done. Which is what has been the expectation around the team and around the league for some time.
The bigger question for Magic: Who is he bringing in that’s better?