Heading into the offseason there had been a ton of rumors about the future of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton. There were questions about whether Walton would even finish out the season and now that he has done so, the prevailing belief is that Walton would be fired.
Now things have suddenly undertaken a massive change with the shocking news that Magic Johnson is stepping down as Lakers president of basketball operations. The decision on whether or not to retain Walton would’ve been Magic’s to make, but with him gone everything is now in question.
To that point, the Lakers’ coaching staff reportedly expected to be fired following the final game of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Lakers coaching staff fully expected to be fired in hours after the final game of the season. They had believed they were gone for months. Now? Magic quits in public, saying he's too scared to tell Jeanie Buss face-to-face. What an embarrassing episode for a historic franchise.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2019
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Walton and the coaching staff is safe and will be back next season, but rather that no one knows anything in the immediate aftermath of Magic’s surprising announcement.
With Johnson not informing owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka, they will have to scramble to get things in order with the draft and free agency just ahead.
With the Lakers coming up short on expectations this season and not making the playoffs, much of the blame fell on Walton. The front office was reportedly unhappy with the team’s lack of offense and questioned his choices of assistant coaches with many having personal ties to Walton from his time at the University of Arizona.
Even with that, things seemed to be going fine for the Lakers before the team was decimated by injuries and the overall construction of the roster has been called into question as well. Nonetheless, Walton and the rest of the coaches are now completely in the dark on their futures with the franchise.