The best move the Los Angeles Lakers made last summer was hiring Luke Walton to be Byron Scott’s successor as head coach. Walton was one of the most sought-after coaches on the open market and was hired on the spot after his interview with the Lakers brass.
Although Walton has had a rough first season in Los Angeles with the team headed for a fourth straight year without a playoff appearance, the front office continues to back their leader on the sidelines.
Apparently, before bringing in Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations, Jeanie Buss wanted to make sure he was on the same page in terms of being on board with Luke as the coach. Buss recently explained her reasoning on a Forbes Sports Money podcast with Mike Ozanian, transcription via the L.A. Times:
“What was important to me was how he felt about our coach, Luke Walton,” Buss said during a podcast on Forbes Sports Money. “Luke Walton is, he is somebody that I believe can be our coach for the next 10 or 15 years, as long as we don’t kill him.”
Walton signed a four-year deal with the team this past summer. The 37-year-old is obviously in the long-term plans, but with the enormous pressure of being the head coach of this franchise, there’s no telling what lies in store for Walton.
At this point, Walton seems to have the backing of everyone involved in the organization from the owner to the front office and from his players. He’s universally liked and respected, which bodes well for his future.
Losing will take its toll on the young head coach if it continues in the years ahead, but with a talented young core and a motivated Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka, Walton may have the chance to shine in Los Angeles once again if everything comes together sooner rather than later.