The Los Angeles Lakers were extremely active throughout the offseason, but that hasn’t translated to success on the court.
Through eight regular-season games, the Lakers have accumulated just a 3-5 record. With the team’s struggles in mind, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported that president Magic Johnson “admonished” head coach Luke Walton for the team’s slow start to the season.
Wojnarowski and McMenamin also are reporting that Johnson’s aggressive tone in the meeting isn’t unfamiliar to many members of the team’s front office. In fact, he’s been known to be quite brash in his management strategy and has been labeled as “volatile.”
However, despite what was described as an uncomfortable meeting for Walton, he isn’t on the hot seat by any stretch. According to Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, even though Johnson was mad at Walton in their meeting, he doesn’t make “rash” decisions and Walton’s job is safe.
Following practice on Friday, Walton was asked about his standing with the Lakers and he was very confident about his status as the team’s head coach. He added that he “has a great relationship with management,” and that he doesn’t “feel like I am going anywhere.”
The Lakers have dealt with quite a bit of adversity in the early portion of the regular season. The team lost the first three games of the season and have dropped two of their last three contests. Los Angeles is coming off a narrow 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
In just the second game of the season, the Lakers got involved in a brawl against the Houston Rockets. During that melee, Brandon Ingram drew a four-game suspension while Rajon Rondo was given a two-game ban. Nearly right off the bat, the Lakers were forced to miss both Rondo and Ingram for three games and that certainly wasn’t the most ideal situation for a team that is searching for its identity.
On top of that, former second overall pick Lonzo Ball had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Ball did participate in training camp, but only appeared in two of the team’s preseason games prior to the regular season. However, with Rondo out of the lineup, Ball was elevated to a starting role and has started in six of the Lakers’ eight games thus far.
Ball has been one of the team’s better shooters as he’s connecting on 41.0 percent of his shots from three. The former UCLA Bruin is also averaging 10.1 points to go along with 4.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds.
The Lakers have obviously faced some of the top competition that the Western Conference has to offer so far. They’ve faced off against the San Antonio Spurs (twice), Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. The Lakers front office certainly doesn’t appear to be pleased with a slow start and Walton may need to turn things around in a hurry if he wants to keep his job.
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