Pressure Mounting On Lakers’ Luke Walton

Prior to the Lakers‘ win over Dallas on Wednesday, team president Magic Johnson “admonished” head coach Luke Walton for the team’s slow start, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of According to ESPN’s report, the meeting elevated the sense within the organization that Walton is facing “intense and immediate pressure” to improve upon L.A.’s 3-5 record.

Before the regular season began, Johnson stressed in public comments that the new-look Lakers would require patience while they found their footing. However, sources tell Wojnarowski and McMenamin that the team president has a reputation within the organization for an “often-time volatile management style,” which includes his handling of Walton and the Lakers’ assistants.

As Johnson puts more pressure on Walton, the Lakers’ head coach continues to have the support of controlling owner Jeanie Buss and of the team’s new star, LeBron James. James has been both publicy and privately supportive of Walton, as the ESPN duo notes, defending the coach’s frequent lineup shuffling early in the season.

“I think Luke’s trying to figure out what works best,” James said. “We knew it was going to be like that from the summer when ‘Zo (Lonzo Ball) had the knee surgery. We knew we were going to have a lineup change there. Obviously, we had the unexpected one when we had the suspensions (to Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram), so we had a lineup change there… We’ll get to a point where we know how comfortable we need to be with different lineups.”

Wojnarowski and McMenamin indicate that Walton’s job security in Los Angeles will ultimately hinge on his ability to significantly improve upon the team’s 3-5 start, though it’s not clear how quickly Johnson expects to see a turnaround. In the short term, the team’s weekend schedule doesn’t bode well for a return to .500 — the Lakers will play in Portland on Saturday before returning home to host the Raptors on Sunday.

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24 thoughts on “Pressure Mounting On Lakers’ Luke Walton

    • dimitrios in la

      My guess is that pressure should mount to get rid of Magic. I’m guessing he needs a scapegoat for his own failings thus far, most notably a total misread on Lonzo.

    • x%sure

      Lebron is Walton-positive, so no. And you’re not carrying the flag for David Blatt anyway. Spoelstra is still at Miami, and Lue didn’t get fired during Lebron’s time. Darn facts, huh?

      Also, there really isn’t anything going on anyway. EarvinJ wants to win more than he is doing, big deal, who doesn’t. The drama is the fans doing it to themselves.

  1. Michael Chaney

    This always happens with LeBron teams. Then they’ll go on a 20-5 run and everyone will forget that it ever happened.

  2. Z-A

    He is managing old hot garbage and young not ready for the limelite players. There is only LeBron.

  3. Ptn18

    On the other coaching front, the Cavs are making progress with Larry Drew Jr,, but ex-assistant coach Jim Boylan is suing the Cavs for age discrimination.

    • victorg

      if I had to bet I would imagine the cavs fired LUE for the voicemail he left Jim Boylan.

  4. Ridiculous, if true, 8 games into a season. There isn’t even a high end starter on the team outside of LeBron.

    Magic and his GM put this team together, based on new and different type of LeBron-ettes, and boosted about it. Too soon to tell if this combination will work, but I guess it’s never to early to set the table for blaming the coach if it doesn’t.

  5. Ptn18

    I was wondering when we’d hear from Lavar Ball. Sporting News reports Lavar says in reaction to Magic meeting with Luke that “he could coach the Lakers to a title with his eyes closed.”

  6. imindless

    Lebron isnt even good lol, i watch every game and dude disappears for stretches and doesnt play d but somehow luke will be the one getting blamed. Magic puts together a trash team comprised of poor shooters and playmakers and yet find someone else to blame

  7. raisethejollyroger

    They should rid of LeBron. This is so stupid and the idiots reporting it and magic doing the admonishing should all just stfu! They’ve played 2 weeks! I’m a lifelong laker fan and I swear if they replace Walton with Tyrone I’m a head case lue I will turn in my fan card. What a crock. These are all old tired scrap heap players with all 2nd year players! You’ve missed the playoffs 5 years in a row. So if you’re blaming anyone blame Lefraud since he’s not flipping your record the other way. It’s unconscionable some of these reports.

  8. Eric Lord

    Magic is an idiot if he thought the Lakers would win just because they got LeBron. He can’t completely turn the team around by himself. The Lakers haven’t been a good team the last few seasons & it will take time to turn things around in a tough Western Conference. The Lakers aren’t going to be contenders in right away. They still need to add players. Magic needs to back off & let things develop

  9. paladin

    Well My, My, My. Another coaching Coup de Grace courtesy of Mr. Lebron James aka The King/Chosen One. The proverbial Blow of Mercy will be dealt much sooner than later. Lebron learned well from his Blatt/Spoelstra experience. So Soon, Who Knew. I have a bottle of 1990 Chateau Latour wagered on Luke Walton being fired before the run of Lebricks contract. Lebron is savvy enough to publicly keep out of this for future media reasons so he doesn’t poison the local well. I have no doubts this was discussed when Magic met with Lebron privately at Lebrons residence. When Luke was not in attendance I knew the jig was up and only a matter of time. I thought it would take a whole season for coaching change but WTF I will enjoy my wine that much sooner. Magic ”admonishing” Luke is code for ”trying to pick a fight” to initiate regime change which will placate Lebron. Magic is not going to take responsibility for this Shakespearean ”Band of Brothers”. Luke is not a hire by this front office and the clock is ticking until we are drinking Left Bank Bordeaux. It’s not like Brandon Ingram & Rondo were suspended X amount of games for being blockheads so blame Luke for your hires Mr. Magicman. This reminds me of the mess going on in Oakland this is a long term issue…My Prediction for us Laker Fans…”PAIN”

  10. mitchrapp

    Top ten all time player… yes. Leader of men, lebron will never be, not smart enough.

  11. raisethejollyroger

    I’ve never understood the whole LeBron MJ comparison. LeBron couldn’t guard play with out shoot or play in MJ’s era. Imagine MJ in this era of no D don’t touch or even try to guard the theee point shooting 7’3 center. The real comparison should be MJ Kobe. Kobe was better than LeBron period. That’s the true comparison. LeBron is just a freakish over roided athlete who can’t shoot and just bulldozes his traveling ass to the hoop.

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