The Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Luke Walton on Friday after a 37-45 record to finish the season in LeBron James’ first year in LA. The organization termed it as a mutual agreement to part ways on both sides. But according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, that’s not the case:
The Lakers announced Friday afternoon that the team and Walton had “mutually agreed to part ways.” But make no mistake, no matter what the media release said: Walton was fired.
Despite whatever challenges existed, Walton wanted to remain the coach of the Lakers, sources said.
Obviously, that’s not very surprising. That sort of terminology happens all the time in an effort to protect the coach. It doesn’t really mean anything.
It does seem somewhat significant that despite what can only be described as a dysfunctional situation, Walton still had interest in coaching the team.
Walton’s job was not easy with the Lakers. There was pressure to succeed with a roster that was not built for it and injuries only added to the stress. Even if he was brought back for another year, it likely would have been a similarly awkward position for the head coach given that he was on the hot seat all season.
At this point, it was probably the right move for both parties to move on.