Lakers majority owner Jeanie Buss and team president Magic Johnson offered public support to coach Luke Walton today for the first time since last week’s disparaging comments from LaVar Ball, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
Buss went first, tweeting a photo of herself with GM Rob Pelinka and Walton, accompanied by the hashtag #InLukeWeTrust.
Johnson followed with a pair of tweets, reading “So proud of my @Lakers players and Coach Walton for winning their 4th game in a row against the Mavericks” (Twitter link) and “Coach Luke Walton has the @Lakers playing some of their best basketball of the season right now.” (Twitter link)
L.A. has won four straight games since Ball, the father of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, claimed Walton has lost the team and that players no longer support him.
Rumors emerged Friday that the Lakers might have interest in former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. Sources told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that Buss was concerned about the situation and wanted to make her support for Walton clear.
“Jeanie has always been great,” Walton said. “There is no doubt that they support me. I haven’t seen the tweet, but again, I don’t have Twitter. But I know they support [me and the coaching staff].”
The front office tried to ignore LaVar Ball’s comments so it wouldn’t be seen as responding to the parent of a player. A Lakers source recently told Shelburne there’s “not even a conversation” about replacing Walton, who still has three seasons left on a five-year contract reportedly worth $25MM.