The Los Angeles Lakers got off to an extremely slow start to the 2017-2018 season despite signing The King himself, LeBron James. The Lakers lost their first three games, and 10 games into the season they still have a losing record of 4-and-6 with Luke Walton.
Last week, it was reported that Lakers head coach Luke Walton was put on the ‘hot seat’ by Magic Johnson after the slow start to the season which meant his job was quickly in jeopardy. This is a common theme with coaches on LeBron James‘ teams. The expectation of winning immediately goes from ‘making the playoffs’ to ‘winning an NBA Championship’.
Jokes have been made throughout LeBron’s entire career about how he’s ‘the real’ coach of whatever team he’s on and after last week’s report about Luke Walton being on the hot seat, it seemed as if that might be happening again in Los Angeles. Now, Magic Johnson‘s clarified his comments and it seems as if Luke Walton’s job is safe *for now*.
You can read as much into these comments as you want. Personally, I perceive this as a ‘lame duck’ situation where Luke Walton’s almost certainly going to be replaced at the end of the year.
How much do we really want to dissect these comments? When he says that Luke Walton’s going to finish the year, is Magic Johnson referring to the fiscal calendar or does he mean that Luke’s going to get fired after the Christmas games if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t firing on all cylinders by then? Could Luke get replaced mid-season or is Magic referring to the full season as ‘the year’?
As for Luke Walton’s role in all of this, he knows that it is his job to put a winning team on the court each game. He said there’s been some support for him since it was reported that Magic Johnson put him on the hot seat.
I’m not sure everything’s ‘all good’ when the conversation is all about Luke Walton’s performance and not about the Lakers and LeBron winning. If the team was winning at the moment, if they were at least at .500 and not .400, maybe he could get away with saying things are ‘all good’ but to say that when the team still has a losing record seems like the person who says ‘everything’s fine’ right up until the moment they get fired.