Lakers, Luke Walton Agree To Part Ways

The Lakers and head coach Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced today in a press release.

“I want to thank (team owner) Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” Walton said in a statement. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”

It has been a wild week for Walton, who was viewed as a dead man walking for the last several weeks of the 2018/19 season. Widely expected to be fired at season’s end, Walton appeared to get a second life when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson abruptly announced his resignation on Tuesday night.

With Johnson out of the picture, in part because he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of firing Walton, there was a sense that the head coach might stick around to help provide some stability in a period of upheaval for the franchise — particularly since Buss was said to be a big fan of Walton.

However, it appears the Lakers will be in the market for a new head coach after all, having become the fourth team to announce a head coaching change in the last two days, joining Sacramento, Memphis, and Cleveland.

Two of those teams, the Kings and Cavaliers, have previously been cited as potential landing spots for Walton, assuming he opts to continue his head coaching career right away after three up-and-down season in Los Angeles. According to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter), Kings GM Vlade Divac views Walton as a top candidate to replace Dave Joerger, and is expected to reach out to him soon.

Walton technically improved his record every year as the Lakers’ coach, winning 26, 35, and 37 games to finish with an overall mark of 98-148 (.398). However, this season’s squad, hit hard by injuries and negatively impacted by the midseason Anthony Davis trade-rumor saga, fell well short of expectations following last summer’s acquisition of LeBron James.

It’s not clear if the Lakers intend to bring in a top-level executive to replace Johnson in their front office. Typically in this situation, a new head of basketball operations would be given the opportunity to hand-pick his own head coach, but it appears as if the team already has its eye on a pair of head coaching candidates

Adrian Wojnarowski of reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers’ coaching search is expected to focus on former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports mentioned those two candidates earlier this week, noting that former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was also on L.A.’s list.

Lue, of course, has experience coaching James in Cleveland, while Williams has worked with LeBron on Team USA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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42 thoughts on “Lakers, Luke Walton Agree To Part Ways

  1. jonnyzuck

    More like the Lakers agreed to fire him and he agreed to leave before security escorted him out

  2. Thronson5

    I’m a fan of his but he honestly wasn’t very good. His rotations were a joke.

    • Reflect

      Tough to not have joke rotations when you’re saddled with a joke roster.

      • Thronson5

        Roster isn’t that bad. Not sure why everyone acts like this is just a flat out terrible team. Had they not had injuries they would’ve easily been a playoff team.

  3. kenleyfornia2

    The way the season went a fresh start for HC and President of Ops is the best way to go

  4. TedKnox

    “Vlade Divac views Walton as a top candidate to replace Dave Joerger, and is expected to reach out to him.”

    Luke – how about “contact him” instead of “reach out to him”. Thanks!

  5. x%sure

    “With Johnson out of the picture, in part because he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of firing Walton…”
    Luke beat me to it! That would explain the suddenness of Magic’s departure.

    • captainsalty

      I truly believe that Magic just didn’t like being an executive…with that being said I’m not a fan of this move, Luke deserved another go around next season…despite the fact I don’t feel like Luke deserved to be fired a can understand that a fresh start could be a good thing considering everything that went down last season…Pelinka needs to go too

      • x%sure

        True enough, and it sounds like Walton will not be unemployed for long…
        As for Pelinka, like @DXC said, they might want to keep him around for the draft at least.

        >Just to be clear, in the OP, I meant the writer Luke Adams not Luke Walton.

  6. Danthemilwfan

    Should have grabbed coach Budd last off-season when they had a chance ‍♂️

  7. julyn82001

    Luke come to Sacramento! Relaxing atmosphere, no extreme media drama, no LeBron either…

      • Michael Chaney

        I’d argue the opposite. That young core is really impressive, and another year of growing together could be big.

        The Warriors didn’t take that next step until they fired Mark Jackson, and I’m 100% not suggesting that the Kings are the second coming of Golden State, but sometimes making a change when the team is ready to make a leap is a good idea.

  8. raisethejollyroger

    “Lue” has experience coaching Lebron. Last I checked there’s 11 more players on the roster. Talk about compounding an already f’d up situation. Wake me when Lebron is either injures again or retired. My team has been ran in the ground

  9. D$!LLKU$H-og

    They gotta go Popovich/RC Buford tree. Coach Bud, Doc Rivers (played for Pop), Kevin Pritchard, Sean Marks, Sam Presti, Alvin Gentry and Brett Brown just to name a few. Rich Cho, from the tree, could help bring in Kemba and was really just a victim of the 2016 cap spike. Anyways MJ had final say. Then maybe get Gentry if the Pels let him go to start a rebuild. Not a bad outcome.

  10. Good move by Jeanie. Walton’s coaching acumen aside (one way or the other), that boat was carrying too much water to have it touch any part of the new regime. Pelinka can be dealt with whenever and by whoever, and if he’s a critical part of the group handling the draft, really needs to be kept in place for a bit even if he’s not the final decision maker.

  11. kevin

    no matter how it’s written he was fired plain and simple. Lakers will be all screwed up soon with LBJ running the team and he will bolt . wish the Lakers would have just built a team up . I mean I hate the Lakers but still I’d rather see em have a chance at a dynasty rather then be rebuilding in 2 years again starting completely over after LBJ gits the team

  12. stevep-4

    Might as well bring in Red Auerbach or Flip Saunders, Bron’s in charge now

  13. Yep it is

    BRON BRON runs off another one. Never has one player done so little with so much. Who would want to play with him? Never ever should his name be mentioned as GOAT. That belongs to MJ

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