The Los Angeles Lakers suffered one of their worst losses of the season on Tuesday at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. With a rough stretch of play over the past couple of months and the team on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, there has been a lot of speculation over Luke Walton’s job security.
Those questions can be momentarily put to bed, at least. According to Brad Turner of the LA Times, Walton will be allowed to finish out the season as head coach of the team:
There have been no internal discussions about Lakers coach Luke Walton’s job status in the wake of the team’s loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night, according to people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the sensitive matter.
Walton “will definitely finish the season” and has the full support of the Lakers’ front office, one person said.
“Nothing is going to happen with Luke,” one person said. “There hasn’t even been any talk about it and there won’t be any talks about it. Luke will definitely finish the season and he has the full support. So any talk in the media or on social media can be put to bed about Luke. He’s not going anywhere. There has been no conversation about it.”
The Lakers just want Walton to hold his players “accountable”. The Lakers want to see player and team improvement and to see Walton make better in-game adjustments, people said.
So the Lakers have made their decision. The All-Star break was the only time remaining where it would have made sense to make a coaching change. The Lakers seem to want to give Walton at least the rest of the year to prove himself. It also makes sense not to make drastic changes as the team is in the middle of a playoff race.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has been Walton’s biggest proponent among management and she could be the catalyst to this decision as well.
The Lakers leaking this out is strategic. It gives Walton and the players peace of mind that there will be no major changes. Now they have to go out there and just play basketball as the race for the postseason heats up.