Wal­ton, Lak­ers agree part­ing is the best thing

Ex-Cavs coach Lue a likely can­di­date

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - NEWS WIRE SER­VICES

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.

Getty Im­ages

LeBron James and Luke Wal­ton will no longer be to­gether, but James may be re­united with his old coach Ty­ronn Lue.

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