It only took eight games into the 2018-19 NBA season before Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson met with head coach Luke Walton to discuss the direction of the team.
Since Johnson reportedly ‘admonished’ Walton for the team’s 3-5 start, the latter addressed the report and does not believe he is in danger of losing his job.
Since the Western Conference is unforgiving, there appears to be a sense of urgency to win now instead of being patient as the Lakers work to build chemistry.
As for Walton, despite the contentious meeting, the Lakers aren’t near making a coaching change, according to Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of the L.A. Times:
Magic Johnson was angry in the meeting he had with Luke Walton (first reported by @wojespn and @mcten) but he doesn't make rash decisions. Several sources told me and @BA_Turner that Luke Walton's job is not in danger. Further, ownership still very much believes in him.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 2, 2018
When James signed a four-year, $154 million deal in free agency, there were immediate championship expectations regardless of the situation. However, the reality is Walton has eight new players to integrate and the young core is learning on the fly.
As the Lakers are preparing for the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors this weekend, it will be interesting to see how they all respond amid the report.
After struggling with defense and rebounding, the Lakers were able to clean these two areas up against the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately, they were not able to close out the game properly and nearly lost at the buzzer despite a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter.