Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton is apparently losing some support within the team’s front office after a 3-5 start to the year. In turn, this has resulted in rumblings that things must improve soon or a change could be on the horizon. It’s eye-opening for a coach who was highly touted as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, but most believed the LeBron James-led Lakers would hit the ground running.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin revealed, a meeting was held earlier this week in which Magic Johnson “admonished” Walton for the team’s “sluggish start to the season.”
There’s no question Johnson and the rest of the Lakers front office believe with James and a plethora of young talent that the team should be winning immediately. While Walton won’t be fired soon, there is the potential for him to see the door if things don’t change. And if that does happen, two names have emerged as potential replacements, as Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson revealed.
Both Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd are intriguing names to monitor and each has had some success at the NBA level as coaches. Previously, Jackson was with the Golden State Warriors for just under three seasons, coaching 230 games and going 121-109. During that stretch, he improved the team’s record in each of the three years, finishing with a 51-31 mark during the 2013-14 season.
As for Jason Kidd, he coached the Brooklyn Nets for one season in 2013-14, going 44-38 and making the playoffs. He then took a job with the Milwaukee Bucks and was with the team for roughly three and a half seasons, posting a 139-152 record over that stretch.
Lakers Losing Close Games
Although the 3-5 start is far from ideal, one big issue is the team losing close games. The Lakers have fallen to the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs (twice) by a combined nine points in the three games. If Walton’s squad had managed to walk away with wins in those games, this could be a very different conversation.
On that same note, if just the last two four-point losses had been flipped, the Lakers would be on a five-game winning streak currently. Even a victory in just one of those two games would have given the team four wins in five games and had them trending in the right direction.
The Lakers face the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday followed by the Toronto Raptors Sunday in a tough back-to-back. From there, they draw the Minnesota Timberwolves in a nationally televised matchup.