Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been in the news after Magic Johnson’s stern talk over the team’s slow start. While concerning for Walton, a big trade is still more likely than him being fired.
The Los Angeles Lakers have failed to live up to many people’s expectations to start the season, including President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson.
The Lakers have started the season with a 3-5 record and have lost three games by four or fewer points. While there are signs of greatness on the roster, there have also been noticeable holes that have significantly hurt the team.
This prompted a talk between Johnson and head coach Luke Walton. Johnson is reportedly not happy with Walton and the team’s performance and took an aggressive stance that resonated throughout the organization (h/t SI).
While this could be signaling that Walton will soon be out the door, it really seems unlikely that the team would make a coaching change so early in the season.
It would take a long string of losing for a move to be made and the Lakers are simply far too talented for that to happen. LeBron James starts slowly in every new environment he is thrown into and this start should have been expected.
Let’s not forget that the team was forced to play without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball is still knocking off the cobwebs of an offseason knee surgery. And while guys like JaVale McGee have been promising, it is ultimately the deficiencies in the roster that Johnson created that is causing the lack of success, not Walton.
Could Walton be better? Absolutely. But his learning curve in coaching a LeBron-led team is as big of a learning curve as an NBA coach can have. Firing him and bringing in someone else won’t fix the problems.
If anything, this signals that the Los Angeles Lakers are undoubtedly going to make a move this season. With several expiring contracts, the Lakers have the leverage to swap assets with a team in need in order to improve the dynamic.
One potential option is Nikola Vucevic in Orlando, who would be a fitting piece alongside McGee and would help the team’s lack of size.
Another potential candidate could be a sharpshooter, perhaps Kyle Korver, to help the Lakers’ three-point shooting woes. Heck, I would not even be that surprised if the Lakers pulled the trigger on a Jimmy Butler deal and agreed to an extension with him.
Would it be the smartest move? Probably not. However, if there are any doubts about signing a star next summer or the New Orleans Pelicans ever trading Anthony Davis, then trading for Butler becomes a necessity.
Regardless, something is going to happen. We see this every year on a LeBron James team; the team underperforms in some manner and makes a move midseason to either fix the deficiencies or shore up the.
The 2018-2019 Los Angeles Lakers will be no different and Luke Walton should have comfort knowing that his job is probably secure.