Coach

Lakers Roundup: LeBron Wants to Contend Now, Jeannie Buss Avoid Luke Walton's Future

LeBron James discusses how critical this offseason is going to be, and Jeanie Buss hints at head coach Luke Walton's future.

The Lakers have less than a week left in arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history. 

However, just because the season ends, doesn't mean the Lakers will fall by the wayside. Even after they play their final game of the regular season, the Lakers will likely remain relevant and the main topic of discussion during the NBA playoffs.

The first domino expected to fall is head coach Luke Walton, who will likely fall on the sword for snapping LeBron's run of 13 consecutive seasons in the playoffs. 

For weeks, there's been plenty of chatter regarding who could—and should—replace Walton as the head coach,  but on Tuesday Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was asked directly about Walton's future.

Buss appeared on the Sports Business Radio Road Show as a guest and was asked about Walton's future as head coach.

"If he were to be the coach going forward…" began host Brian Burger before Buss cut him off.

"I'm not going to answer that question," said Buss.

Buss went on two say that she believed Walton had done an "incredible job under a lot of challenging circumstances," referencing the injuries all season, and the microscope of scrutiny that the franchise seems to always be under.

Whether or not Luke Walton is manning the sideline next season, this upcoming summer, and the ability for President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka, to land another superstar to play alongside James, is sure to be the biggest mystery of the offseason.

The summer of 2019 will feature some of the most high-profile free agents in NBA history as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and Klay Thompson will all be available.

"It's a critical summer for myself," James told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck in an article that was published on Thursday. "Obviously the franchise is going to live forever, but for me personally, it's very critical because I want to compete, and I want to compete now."

For those keeping score at home, that's two uses of the word "critical," and two for "compete." LeBron is sending a direct message to Magic that he better get this summer right, but in case it wasn't delivered, he doubled-down:

"So it's very critical to me and my future," said James using the word critical a third time when asked if the team needs to land another star to play alongside him. "And I'm very positive and very optimistic that Magic and Rob and the franchise will be great."

In case Magic and Rob didn't get the message before, he called them out by name this time.

Last summer, Johnson promised he would land "multiple superstars," over the course of two offseasons, and if he didn't he would step down as team President. 

After landing LeBron James last offseason, he will now get one more chance to land another start to go alongside him, or it's going to be a long year for the Lakers.

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