Walton, Lakers agree parting is the best thing
Ex-Cavs coach Lue a likely candidate
The Los Angeles Lakers and coach Luke Walton mutually parted ways on Friday, General Manager Rob Pelinka announced in a statement.
Walton’s status had been tenuous, even before Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations on Tuesday. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was reportedly ready to OK a departure after previously being fully supportive of 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.”
Walton compiled a 98-148 record in three seasons as coach. Los Angeles missed the playoffs in all three seasons.
“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” Walton said in a statement. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”
The Lakers went 37-45 this season in a disappointing first campaign of the LeBron James era.
Los Angeles was 20-14 when James suffered a groin injury during a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors and the team’s fortunes plummeted from there.
Walton may not be unemployed for a long period as the Sacramento Kings are reportedly interested in interviewing him for their opening.
The Kings went 39-43 this season and fired coach Dave Joerger.
Among the candidates for the Lakers’ post is former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams.
Lue coached James for parts of three seasons in Cleveland – including the franchise’s 2016 NBA Finals title – while Williams coached the New Orleans Pelicans for five seasons. Williams also is reported a candidate for the Sacramento job.
Around the rim
• The Philadelphia 76ers still do not know the status of center Joel Embiid for Game 1 of the playoffs Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. Embiid has been experiencing discomfort in his left knee, missing the Sixers’ final two regular-season games this week.
• Blake Griffin’s sore left knee remains bothersome enough to keep the Detroit Pistons forward listed as day-to-day heading into Saturday’s playoff opener against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Griffin did not play Wednesday at New York in the Pistons’ playoff-clinching victory.
• Former Cleveland Cavaliers executive David Griffin has reached an agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans to become the team’s president of basketball operations, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday afternoon. Once his hiring is finalized, one of his first missions will be to supervise the trade process for disgruntled star Anthony Davis, who has requested a trade and said he won’t re-sign when his contract expires next summer.
LeBron James and Luke Walton will no longer be together, but James may be reunited with his old coach Tyronn Lue.