Lakers' Coach Luke Walton on Hot Seat After Meeting With Magic Johnson - NBC Southern California
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Lakers' Coach Luke Walton on Hot Seat After Meeting With Magic Johnson

Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton is reportedly on the hot seat after a meeting with team president Magic Johnson.



    Lakers' Coach Luke Walton on Hot Seat After Meeting With Magic Johnson
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images
    Head coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers is on the hot seat after a meeting with team president Magic Johnson.

    This one we saw coming. 

    After a 2-5 start to the NBA season, it was only a matter of time until Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton was officially put on the proverbial "hot seat."

    According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, that time has come after Lakers President Magic Johnson reportedly "admonished" Walton in a private closed door meeting after a tough two-week start to the season.

    Before the season began, Walton was the betting favorite in Las Vegas to be the first NBA coach to be fired this season.

    Ironically, that honor went to LeBron James former coach, Tyronn Lue, who was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers just six games into the season.

    Now, Lue is the odds on favorite to replace Walton should the Lakers chose to fire him.

    Lue started his career with the Lakers from 1998 to 2001 and is a favorite of James after the duo won the NBA Championship in 2016 together.

    If you haven't read the report, Wojnarowski and McMenamin detail an organization that is frustrated with the team's 3-5 start to the season, and with Walton's inconsistent lineups that have created "discontent among some of the veterans" on the team.

    As for now, James does not appear to be one of the veteran's upset with Walton's rotations as he continues to preach patience after the difficult start to the season.

    At 3-5, the Lakers are off to the worst start to a team with LeBron James on the roster since his rookie season with the Cavaliers. James is no stranger to making coaching changes as he famously had David Blatt ousted after reaching the NBA Finals in his first year, and also questioned Erik Spoelstra in Miami after a slow start in his first season with the Heat.

    What makes Friday's report by Wojnarowski and McMenamin somewhat surprising is that Johnson himself told reporters at a press conference six weeks ago that Walton would not be in the hot seat if they got out to a bad start to the season, saying emphatically, "Don't worry about if we get out to a bad start. We have seen that with LeBron going to Miami, and we have seen that when he came back to Cleveland. He is going to struggle because there are so many new moving parts. But eventually we are going to get it, and we are going to be a really good team."

    Walton himself addressed the rumors at practice in El Segundo on Friday morning saying that he has a "great relationship with management" (meaning Johnson), and that he doesn't believe he is "going anywhere."

    One thing that does not bode well for Walton's tenure as head coach is that he was hired in 2016 by former general manager Mitch Kupchak and president Jim Buss, the brother of Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss.

    Walton was hired originally as a young up-and-coming head coach to lead a budding team, and help develop its inexperienced core in the wake of Kobe Bryant's retirement. Walton is not a handpicked coach by Magic Johnson, who is a vocal supporter of legendary coaches like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. Even as a player in his heyday, Johnson was very picky with who he wanted to coach the Lakers.

    The Lakers take the court again on Saturday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers before hosting the red-hot Toronto Raptors at Staples Center on Sunday.

    Needless to say, if the Lakers continue to struggle on the court, Walton will not be long for the job, and Lue will be at the top of the rumor list to replace him.

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