Head coach Luke Walton is on the hot seat right now as the Lakers have gotten off to a troubling start.
Luke Walton probably never thought this would be an issue when the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James in free agency, making the biggest splash of the summer. Nevertheless, Walton may be battling for his job anyway.
The Lakers have gotten off to a very disappointing 3-5 start, something you wouldn’t expect to see from a team that has the best player in the world. But to this point, LeBron’s Lakers have been traveling very rocky roads. The 2018-19 season is only about two weeks old and point guard Rajon Rondo has already served a suspension for getting into an altercation with Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets.
These aren’t the things that should be happening to a team that resurrected its playoff hopes over the summer, and if Walton can’t get things sorted out as head coach, he might pay for it with his job. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lakers president Magic Johnson met with Walton following the team’s poor start to the season and let him know that things need to get turned around sooner rather than later.
There is no doubt that Walton now has an even heavier weight on his shoulders than he did before. But it’s understandable why patience is growing thin for the third-year head coach. He has James, a veteran point guard and former NBA champion in Rondo, a handful of very promising youngsters in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram and a few savvy veterans like Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee on the team as well.
It might not be a title-or-bust season for the Lakers given the very tough competition in the Western Conference, but there is no reason this team should be just 3-5 two weeks into the season. If it were any other team, Walton might have a little bit longer leash to work with. But the Lakers are one of the NBA premier organizations; an organization that expects to win.
Magic Johnson doesn’t like to settle for mediocrity. Even though he always wears that enormous smile on his face, there is no doubt it’s killing him to see the Lakers play the way they are right now. And if they don’t start winning more frequently in the very near future, Walton might just be out of a job.