Lakers Notes: LeBron, Walton, Chandler

LeBron James made a strong statement in support of Luke Walton and the Lakers’ coaching staff following last night’s win in Portland, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Walton started to feel some heat after a 2-5 start and was “admonished” this week by team president Magic Johnson. The team has responded with two straight wins, and James left no doubt that he is in Walton’s corner.

“Listen, coaching staff put us in a position to win, and it’s up to us to go up and execute,” he told reporters after the game. “Luke can care less about what’s going on outside. We could as well. I’m the last person to ask about scrutiny or anything of that nature. So none of that stuff matters to me. The only thing that matters to me is what goes on inside this locker room, both home and away.”

James has clashed with coaches in both Miami and Cleveland and reportedly played a large role in getting David Blatt fired a year after he took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. James’ endorsement of Walton should carry a lot of weight with the Lakers’ front office.

There’s more this morning out of Los Angeles:

  • Johnson was less upset about the team’s won-loss record than what he perceived as a lack of identity at both ends of the court, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. A source tells Amick that Walton’s job wasn’t threatened and that Johnson hasn’t lost confidence in his coach, even though he was hired by the previous administration. Amick also notes that owner Jeanie Buss viewed frequent coaching changes as a weakness of the management team that was in place before Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka were hired.
  • In that meeting, Walton appealed for another big man to back up starting center JaVale McGee, Amick adds in the same piece. That request appears to have been answered with the expected addition of Tyson Chandler, who is nearing a buyout with the Suns.
  • Chandler may not be enough to solve the Lakers’ issues on defense when McGee is off the court, suggests Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Pelton runs the numbers on Chandler and finds that his ability to protect the rim has been on a steady decline over the past six seasons. He states that the Lakers might have been better off waiting for another center to become available, such as the Bulls’ Robin Lopez or the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon.
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11 thoughts on “Lakers Notes: LeBron, Walton, Chandler

  1. unclemike1525

    I sincerely hope the Lakers are stupid enough to fire Luke Walton. He would be a perfect fit in Chicago to coach the Bulls young core when the Reinsdorf’s finally get tired of watching Hoibergs incompetent freak show. Zero leadership or acountability.

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    • dimitrios in la

      Fire Magic. He’s simply not that good, and he’s utterly dispensable.

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  2. unclemike1525

    In fact now that I think about it, Why not fire Paxson, Forman, and Hoiberg and hire Steve Kerr to run everything and bring in Walton to coach. We know Kerr’s health isn’t the greatest and he wouldn’t have the grind of the NBA season anymore.
    After you eliminate Parker( 20 mil), Lopez( 14 mil) and Asik(8-10 mil?) next year, at least Kerr and Walton could attract a decent FA.

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    • What do you do about the five year extension Steve Kerr signed Last Summer?

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      • unclemike1525

        Obviously the Warriors would have to allow him permission to talk to anybody. Most teams let their front office people look for jobs that are a promotion. Assuming he got permission, and accepted, the old deal would be voided.

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      • Ptn18

        Kerr recently said he doesn’t want a coach and GM job like Stan Van Gundy had.

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  3. acarneglia

    The big thing for the Lakers is the lack of trade chips. Assuming that they don’t deal any of their young core(Kuzma, Lonzo, Ingram) and that Rondo and Javale arent going any where, what does that leave you with? Lance, Beasley, KCP, and some mid to late round picks? Who wants that?

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  4. formerlyz

    There are so many bigs out there right now. Tyson Chandler has been in decline the last few years, both protecting the rim, rebounding, and defending the pick and roll. I dont get why wait for him to be bought out when there are better options they can already have

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  5. Ptn18

    Dedmon could help a playoff contender as a starter or coming off the bench. He played a big role in San Antonio. I’d think they’d like to have him back.

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  6. x%sure

    Dedmon is underrated, but he would cost.

    Chandler is good for a free go. I’m sure he can turn it up a notch from the Phoenix doldrums.

    I am seeing a problem with the LA media & fanbase being able to handle Lebron’s presence. Johnson & Walton can’t even ‘chat’ without people coming apart and seing Lebron shadows. I predict he will be hearing boos this year. Well, all of them.

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