Despite another loss, this to a basement-dwelling squad, the Los Angeles Lakers are sticking with head coach Luke Walton for at least the remainder of the season, according to a report by Brad Turner at the Los Angeles Times.
“There have been no internal discussions,” Turner wrote, about an ouster for Walton after the 117-113 loss Tuesday to the Atlanta Hawks and a source said he “will definitely finish the season,” per the report.
Front office united in decision
Sources told Turner, per the report, that owner Jeanie Buss, team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka are all united in keeping Walton for the rest of the season.
They were disturbed by the 42-point loss last week to the Indiana Pacers and the 23-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers over the weekend. But the thrilling win over the Boston Celtics gave them hope and is what they want to see Walton continue to get from his players, per the report. The front office wants to give him the opportunity to do it.
“Nothing is going to happen with Luke,” one person said. “There hasn’t even been any talk about it and there won’t be any talks about it. Luke will definitely finish the season and he has the full support. So any talk in the media or on social media can be put to bed about Luke. He’s not going anywhere. There has been no conversation about it.”
They’re also reportedly giving Walton the benefit of the doubt since the team has dealt with a list of injuries. LeBron James missed 18 games with a groin injury. Rajon Rondo missed nine total weeks with a broken hand and a sprained finger on the same hand. Brandon Ingram missed time and starting point guard Lonzo Ball is still out with a sprained left ankle.
Lakers’ issues still clear to executives
The front office does have issues, understandably, with how things are going in L.A. Per the report, the executives see a “disconnect” between Walton and the players and feel James isn’t “totally engaged.” Another cited “bad body language” and another had an issue with “low energy.”
Kyle Kuzma told reporters after the loss, “we just gotta make the game fun” in hopes to break out of their issues.
The team dropped below .500 at 28-29 with the loss going into the All-Star break. They’re in the 10th spot in the Western Conference looking in to the playoff picture.
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