Lakers' Buss, Johnson support Walton

Reuters

Los Angeles Lakers majority owner Jeanie Buss and team president Magic Johnson showed their support for Luke Walton for the first time since LaVar Ball's critical comments a week ago regarding the head coach.

On Saturday, Buss posted a photo of herself, general manager Rob Pelinka and Walton sitting together at a restaurant table while tweeting that she was on her way to Memphis for this weekend's Martin Luther King Jr. events surrounding the Lakers-Grizzlies game on Monday.

"On my way to #Memphis for #Lakers game. Dinner with Rob and Luke tomorrow night. Barbecue!! @Lakers #InLukeWeTrust," Buss tweeted.

A few hours later, Johnson tweeted: "So proud of my @Lakers players and Coach Walton for winning their 4th game in a row against the Mavericks," and then: "Coach Luke Walton has the @Lakers playing some of their best basketball of the season right now."

Sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Buss became concerned that the situation was escalating after rumors connecting the team to former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale surfaced Friday. Buss wanted to reassure Walton of the team's commitment to him as coach now and in the future, according to ESPN.

LaVar Ball, the father of Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, told ESPN on Jan. 6 that the players "don't want to play for" Walton.

LaVar Ball, who was with youngest sons LiAngelo and LaMelo while they play with Lithuanian team Prienu Vytautas, told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the 37-year-old Walton has lost the team.

"You can see they're not playing for Luke no more," Ball told ESPN. "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him."

Both Walton and Lonzo Ball responded last Sunday, saying the Lakers' head coach had not lost the locker room during what at the time was a nine-game losing streak.

Since LaVar Ball's comments, the Lakers (15-27) have now stretched their season-best winning streak to four games after a 107-101 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Walton was hired as the Lakers' head coach after a successful two-year stint as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors under head coach Steve Kerr. When Kerr went on an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons in 2015, Walton took over head-coaching duties and guided the Warriors to 24-0 start to the season and a 39-4 record by the time Kerr returned.

--Field Level Media

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