Luke Wal­ton out as Lak­ers coach af­ter 3 los­ing sea­sons

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! - AP

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — Luke Wal­ton is out as coach of the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers af­ter three los­ing sea­sons. bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions Magic John­son. Pelinka called Wal­ton leav­ing a mu­tual de­ci­sion.

The for­mer Lak­ers for­ward went 98-148 af­ter get­ting his first per­ma­nent head coach­ing job with the 16-time NBA cham­pi­ons. The for­mer Golden State as­sis­tant never led the Lak­ers to the play­offs, not even af­ter the ar­rival of LeBron James last sum­mer.

Wal­ton leaves three days af­ter the Lak­ers’ fi­nal game of their 37-45 sea­son was up­staged by the shock­ing pregame res­ig­na­tion of John­son, who in­her­ited Wal­ton when he took over the Lak­ers’ front of­fice in Fe­bru­ary 2017. John­son at­trib­uted his de­ci­sion in part to his de­sire and re­luc­tance to fire Wal­ton, who is close to Lak­ers owner Jeanie Buss.

A po­ten­tial power strug­gle in­stead ended with both men out of their jobs af­ter this wild week. Pelinka, who was hired along with John­son, an­nounced the move in a pos­si­ble sign of the in­creased or­ga­ni­za­tional power of Kobe Bryant’s for­mer agent.

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

Wal­ton joined the Lak­ers with fan­fare in 2016 af­ter his suc­cess­ful ten­ure along­side coach Steve Kerr with the pow­er­house War­riors. Wal­ton stepped in as Golden State’s in­terim coach when Kerr was side­lined by health is­sues to start the 2015-16 sea­son, and he led the War­riors to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record be­fore Kerr re­turned to the bench.

“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,” Kerr said Fri­day in Oak­land. “They’re los­ing some­body who play­ers be­lieve in, play­ers want to play for. But again, he was de­pen­dent on cir­cum­stances, just like all of us are. I feel for Luke.”

The Lak­ers im­proved their record in each of Wal­ton’s three sea­sons, but never fin­ished higher than third place in the Pa­cific Division. The cur­rent Lak­ers were the fran­chise’s most suc­cess­ful team since their playoff drought be­gan in 2013, but it wasn’t enough to save Wal­ton’s job.

“I think Luke did a hell of a job with what he had, the cards he was dealt,” point guard Ra­jon Rondo said. “The guys fought ev­ery night.”

Los An­ge­les was in fourth place in the West­ern Con­fer­ence at 20-14 af­ter beat­ing Golden State last Christ­mas, but James and Rondo were in­jured dur­ing the game. The Lak­ers’ sea­son fell apart dur­ing the long­est in­jury ab­sence of James’ ca­reer, and they ended the sea­son with nearly ev­ery im­por­tant player in their young core side­lined by in­juries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.