Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been under fire recently. It began with comments from LaVar Ball last week suggesting that he lost control of the locker room during a nine-game losing streak.
It spawned speculation that Lakers ownership or the front office had not publicly voiced their support of Walton since Ball’s criticism in part because of a possible plan to hire former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale. But a vote of confidence in Walton was provided during Saturday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Owner Jeanie Buss pushed back on recent reports by taking to Twitter to support Walton by revealing her dinner plans and using the hashtag “InLukeWeTrust”:
On my way to #Memphis for #Lakers game. Dinner with Rob and Luke tomorrow night. Barbecue!! @Lakers #InLukeWeTrust pic.twitter.com/cDIAHSn80a
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) January 13, 2018
Additionally, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN then confirmed that Buss was indeed using her tweet to respond to the Fizdale rumor:
And yes, from what I heard, Jeanie absolutely is jumping in here to both reassure Luke of his place with the Lakers and show that support publicly after the Fizdale stuff yesterday, which was highly speculatory and originated from outside the organization.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 13, 2018
Not long after Buss’ tweet, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson also backed Walton on Twitter:
So proud of my @Lakers players and Coach Walton for winning their 4th game in a row against the Mavericks.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 13, 2018
Much of the thought process behind the Lakers potentially targeting Fizdale is tied to his relationship with free-agent-to-be LeBron James.
Other than Johnson’s tweet, he and general manager Rob Pelinka have largely remained mum of late. Nonetheless, his and Buss’ tweets suggest that the Lakers do indeed support Walton, which would, therefore, nullify any likelihood of Fizdale becoming the head coach of his hometown team.
While Walton hasn’t been perfect, it would be a surprise if he were let go. He still has three seasons after this current one on his contract and has improved the team’s defense while playing at the fastest pace in the NBA, which were both goals of Johnson’s heading into the season.
Additionally, with their overtime win against the Mavericks, the Lakers are on a season-best four-game winning streak.
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