Infotainment Factory: Lakers part ways with coach to end tumultuous year

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Friday, 12 April 2019

Lakers part ways with coach to end tumultuous year


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After a tumultuous first season with LeBron James on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have mutually parted ways with head coach Luke Walton.

The decision to let go of Walton with two years left on his five-year deal comes just three days after president of basketball operations Magic Johnson shocked the NBA world by abruptly stepping down from his role.

In another twist, it could be a sense of back to the future for James, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that James' former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is the front-runner to replace Walton, with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams also in contention.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be conducting the search for the franchise's next coach, and Pelinka thanked the outgoing Walton for his services.

Luke Walton

"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years," Pelinka said in a statement.

"We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward."

Despite finishing with a 98-148 record over his three years with the Lakers, Walton is seen as one of the best young coaches in the league, with the Sacramento Kings particularly keen to acquire his services after cutting ties with its own head coach Dave Joerger.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also done their homework on Walton, per ESPN.

Walton came across to what was described as his dream job after being a part of Steve Kerr's championship-winning staff at the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James

In the Warriors' historic 73-win season in 2015-16, Walton assumed the coaching duties during Kerr's injury absence and led the side to a 39-4 start.

Following Walton's dismissal, Kerr praised his former assistant.

"I'm disappointed for Luke," Kerr told reporters.

"In this job, as a coach in the NBA, you are 100 percent dependent on your circumstances, the strength of your organisation, the momentum, the unity, everything has to be in good order.

"Because if it's not, that's where you (are fired) as we have witnessed with the Lakers. There's going to be casualties and usually the coach is the first one.

Magic Johnson

"They're losing one of the best human beings in the NBA. They're losing a guy who knows the game as well as anybody I've ever met. They're losing somebody who players believe in and players want to play for.

"He was dependent on circumstances, just like all of us are. I feel for Luke and I feel fortunate to have a set of circumstances here where we've got wonderful people stabilising our organisation every day and I'm lucky to be in this position."

Following his dismissal, Walton thanked the franchise and controlling owner Jeanie Buss.

"I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers," Walton said.

"This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family."

Following the news of his dismissal, several players expressed their support for Walton, including young forward Kyle Kuzma.

https://twitter.com/kylekuzma/status/1116795550253236224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Guard duo Josh Hart and Rajon Rondo also praised the coach for his application throughout the season.

"They came into work every day, no matter what criticism they were under, no matter what scrutiny they were under, they came in, watch hours of film, whether it was on us or other teams, next opponents," Hart told ESPN.

"They did everything right, I'll say that. Obviously it was frustrating, the injuries, the inability to have a consistent lineup was frustrating and hard for them."

"He has a lot of great tendencies for a young coach that some coaches probably don't develop their entire life, or their entire career," Rondo said.

"He was fun. He was a hell of a coach to play for and I just told him in the meeting (that) I have a great time this year learning from him as well as the challenge that he gave to me this year."

After a tumultuous first season with LeBron James on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have mutually parted ways with head coach Luke Walton.

The decision to let go of Walton with two years left on his five-year deal comes just three days after president of basketball operations Magic Johnson shocked the NBA world by abruptly stepping down from his role.

In another twist, it could be a sense of back to the future for James, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that James' former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is the front-runner to replace Walton, with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams also in contention.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be conducting the search for the franchise's next coach, and Pelinka thanked the outgoing Walton for his services.

Luke Walton

"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years," Pelinka said in a statement.

"We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward."

Despite finishing with a 98-148 record over his three years with the Lakers, Walton is seen as one of the best young coaches in the league, with the Sacramento Kings particularly keen to acquire his services after cutting ties with its own head coach Dave Joerger.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also done their homework on Walton, per ESPN.

Walton came across to what was described as his dream job after being a part of Steve Kerr's championship-winning staff at the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James

In the Warriors' historic 73-win season in 2015-16, Walton assumed the coaching duties during Kerr's injury absence and led the side to a 39-4 start.

Following Walton's dismissal, Kerr praised his former assistant.

"I'm disappointed for Luke," Kerr told reporters.

"In this job, as a coach in the NBA, you are 100 percent dependent on your circumstances, the strength of your organisation, the momentum, the unity, everything has to be in good order.

"Because if it's not, that's where you (are fired) as we have witnessed with the Lakers. There's going to be casualties and usually the coach is the first one.

Magic Johnson

"They're losing one of the best human beings in the NBA. They're losing a guy who knows the game as well as anybody I've ever met. They're losing somebody who players believe in and players want to play for.

"He was dependent on circumstances, just like all of us are. I feel for Luke and I feel fortunate to have a set of circumstances here where we've got wonderful people stabilising our organisation every day and I'm lucky to be in this position."

Following his dismissal, Walton thanked the franchise and controlling owner Jeanie Buss.

"I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers," Walton said.

"This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family."

Following the news of his dismissal, several players expressed their support for Walton, including young forward Kyle Kuzma.

https://twitter.com/kylekuzma/status/1116795550253236224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Guard duo Josh Hart and Rajon Rondo also praised the coach for his application throughout the season.

"They came into work every day, no matter what criticism they were under, no matter what scrutiny they were under, they came in, watch hours of film, whether it was on us or other teams, next opponents," Hart told ESPN.

"They did everything right, I'll say that. Obviously it was frustrating, the injuries, the inability to have a consistent lineup was frustrating and hard for them."

"He has a lot of great tendencies for a young coach that some coaches probably don't develop their entire life, or their entire career," Rondo said.

"He was fun. He was a hell of a coach to play for and I just told him in the meeting (that) I have a great time this year learning from him as well as the challenge that he gave to me this year."

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