As the Los Angeles Lakers’ season comes to an end, the disappointment has many clamoring for widespread changes. The modification that most seem to expect will happen is head coach Luke Walton losing his job after three years manning the sidelines for the purple and gold.
Walton was not given an entirely fair shake but made plenty of his own mistakes that have put him on the hot seat. But as rumors swirl about who the Lakers will hire to replace the former Lakers champion, Walton is not letting the noise get to him, as he told Bill Oram of The Athletic:
“I fully expect to be coaching this team again next year,” he told The Athletic on Tuesday night.
“I just view it as outside noise unless someone from within tells me that that happened,” Walton told The Athletic. “Unless someone from within our group is telling me that, I just view it like all the other things we’ve gone through as a team this year. Those are things that I don’t have the time to worry about. I’ve got more important things to do like getting the team better and doing my job.”
To his credit, that’s the right mentality to have. The writing on the wall has been there for most of the season but Walton is trying his best to finish this season out on a good note and await his fate from there.
What could potentially save Walton is the dearth of good options out there. Jason Kidd is publicly campaigning for his job but the Lakers don’t seem interested. Doc Rivers already snubbed them and said he had signed an extension with the Clippers. Mark Cuban is not going to let Rick Carlisle go to LA. Mark Jackson is Mark Jackson.
Effectively speaking, Tyronn Lue might be the only legitimate candidate to replace Walton and to be fair, that may be enough for the Lakers to make the decision. But for now, Walton is doing his job like he has the security of being there longterm.