Erik Spoelstra Endorses Luke Walton as “Perfect Guy to Coach” LeBron James

Erik Spoelstra
Nov 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra looks on during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a rocky start for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this season. The team predictably struggled out of the gate and before their recent surge to a 9-7 record, a volatile meeting between Magic Johnson and Luke Walton led many to believe the head coach’s job was in danger.

Johnson has denied that that’s true and, for now, it seems like the Lakers are standing behind their third-year head coach. Magic isn’t the only one endorsing Luke as the person to lead the purple and gold. Ahead of Sunday night’s win over the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra also gave his two cents.

Following via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

“I told [Walton] the same thing I’ll tell everybody else,” Spoelstra said before James scored 51 points against his former club and the Lakers beat Miami 113-97 on Sunday night. “He’s the perfect guy to coach that team. He has purple and gold bleeding from him. He is a Laker. He did a tremendous job with Golden State when he had to take over for Steve [Kerr].

“And if you look at his whole professional career, all of [it] he has been involved with are teams like this with great expectations, with a lot of pressure and a lot of noise,” Spoelstra continued. “He doesn’t know any different. I don’t think you can find a better fit to coach that team.”

You may recall that Walton spoke to Spoelstra, who coached James with the Heat from 2010 to 2014, shortly after the Lakers signed the superstar. Walton told media that they had “a really good talk.”

It’s not easy coaching LeBron. He’s butted heads with the head coach every time he has changed teams. He did it with Spoelstra and he did it with David Blatt who was fired and replaced with Tyronn Lue.

That James has been publicly and privately supportive of Walton is a big deal. And for whatever flaws Walton has as a young coach, he seems to at least have a knack for getting everyone on the same page.

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