Without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo as they recovered from respective injuries, head coach Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers lost nine of 14 games, including to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Getting the two veterans back on the floor provided only a marginal boost, as the Lakers went 2-4 in their final stretch leading into the All-Star break. As a result, they have fallen to three games back of the Clippers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Through this challenging stretch and since the start of the 2018-19 NBA season for that matter, there have been conflicting reports about Walton’s future as head coach.
However, Walton believes discussions with president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have been positive under the circumstances.
“They’ve been great. I’ve talked to them a bunch during this stretch, and they’ve been great,” Walton said. “They understand what we’re doing and where we’re at.
“They’re happy with the group, as well as I am. There’s games we feel like we should’ve won but we didn’t. The way these guys have been competing and for the most part giving ourselves a chance to win games, I thought they’ve done a nice job of that.”
Whether it is fair or not, the head coach is the easiest position to change in professional sports. Fortunately for Walton, the one constant has been president Jeanie Buss’ support for him.
Amid the team’s struggles, Buss asserted Johnson, Pelinka, and the entire organization were behind their third-year head coach.
And even as speculation again began to build after the Lakers lost to the lowly Atlanta Hawks, another report indicated Walton would at least make it to the end of the season.
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