After three years and a record of 98-148 the Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton have decided to part ways. This comes just days after Laker legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson surprised everyone when he announced in a press conference he was resigning from his position as President of Basketball Operations.
This past season LeBron James joined the team and the Lakers assembled some one-year contract veterans to help James and the young core of players make the playoffs. There were high expectations because James is considered the best player in the league and one of the best all-time players. But then with injuries to many of their best players, including James, point guard Rajon Rondo, forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, the Lakers began a slide after their Christmas game last December.
The ranks of the NBA team go so thin that for the last two weeks the Lakers had G League players starting — and playing like their careers depended on it, beating two of the five playoff teams the faced and taking a third, the Portland Trail Blazers, to the final buzzer.
This is the first time since 2005 the NBA playoffs will not have LeBron James participating. Luke Walton was in his second season with the Lakers the last time LeBron missed the playoffs. This is the sixth season in a row the Lakers have missed the playoffs and the team management is looking to stop that slide with their next choices to fill this positions vacated by Johnson and Walton.
James’s preferences will play a part in who the Lakers choose for both President of Basketball Operations and head coach. The three-time NBA champion sets a high standard for himself and his coaches and expects to win more championships. One of the reasons he is considered the best player in the game today is that he studies everything and it’s a good bet James will have a good read on everyone the Lakers consider for both positions, but especially that of head coach.
The top candidates for the coaching job are Tyron Lue, formerly the coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers’ assistant coach (and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach) Monty Williams.
Top photo of Luke Walton by Claudia Gestro
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