The 2018-19 NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers was one filled with rumors and drama and that has only continued in the offseason.
One ongoing story involved then-head coach Luke Walton, who was rumored to be out of favor with LeBron James’ camp.
Even before Year 1 with James began, there were concerns about Walton’s future with the Lakers and things only got worse with the ups-and-downs that came once the games began. Whispers about Walton’s job security were constant with reports even circulating about who would replace him once he was gone.
Obviously, the two sides came to an agreement after the season to part ways with Walton immediately signing a multi-year deal with the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers eventually hiring former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel as his replacement.
However, despite both sides moving on, stories are still coming out about Walton’s tumultuous season, as Baxter Holmes of ESPN reports that even Walton’s coaching staff questioned whether he would be better off leaving the Lakers:
During a chaotic season, sources close to Walton described the coach as “frustrated,” in part because of the instability around him. Following a practice more than a month before the season ended, Walton, who knew he would potentially be fired after the season, was asked by his coaching staff whether he would be better off leaving the team and its dysfunction behind, according to another team source.
Walton always called coaching the Lakers his dream job, so him leaving them willingly was always unlikely. However, with so many reports, it only makes sense that Walton considered leaving:
Sources close to Walton said he wanted to make it work until the very end and was willing to stay if management wanted to keep him. But Walton also knew — and told his staff in response to the question about his future — that departing the Lakers had to be considered too.
Whether or not Walton was the right person for the Lakers head coaching job is now a moot point as he has moved on and so have the Lakers. Unfortunately, in this day and age, rumors and questions about one’s ability are part of the job and even more so in Los Angeles.
Walton did the best he could have given the circumstances he dealt with and always remained committed to the Lakers for as long as they would keep him around. Now that his time is done, the focus for both sides is elsewhere.