LOS ANGELES – The week has been tumultuous for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team announced that she was mutually separated from head coach Luke Walton on Friday.
The decision comes just three days after Magic Johnson left the franchise with a shocking decision to step down from the presidency of basketball on Tuesday night. Walton finished his third season as head coach with a frustrating and disappointing record of 37-45 in a season that had started with huge expectations after LeBron James' arrival.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams are the main candidates for the Lakers to replace Walton, said championship sources Adrian Wojnarowski . The Lakers chief executive, Rob Pelinka, will do the research, said a source at Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Lue, who played for the Lakers from 1998 to 2001, spent four years with James in Cleveland, first as Cavalry Assistant before taking over as Head Coach and leading the 2016 team. .
Walton leaves the Lakers with two years remaining on his five-year contract.
"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the past three years," said Pelinka in a statement from the team. "We wish Luke and his family the best of luck to move forward."
Who is the best fit for this team? It depends on the future of the file and the priorities of the Lakers.
Jeanie Buss has every reason to be more creative with Magic Johnson's replacement.
Walton, who scored 98-148 in three seasons as head coach, thanked franchise and dominant owner Jeanie Buss, a fervent supporter of Walton.
"I wish to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers," Walton said. "This franchise and the city will always be special for me and my family."
The Lakers had superficial talks Wednesday with Walton representatives, during which they discussed the possibility of moving forward, several sources told ESPN 's Ramona Shelburne. Conversations did not go very far, however, as it was clear to both parties that the Lakers had planned to fire Walton before Johnson retired abruptly on Tuesday night.
When James and his agent, Rich Paul, met Johnson and Pelinka on Saturday, sources told Shelburne that this interview was considered an end-of-season interview for LeBron's season, and that Walton was not present .
Many leaders, coaches, and agents had been speculating on Walton's job security since the start of the season, not only because the Lakers had a reputation for an imperfect list, but also because Walton did not. Had not been hired by Johnson nor Pelinka. Walton was hired in 2016 by Jim Buss, executive vice president of the Lakers era, and Mitch Kupchak, then managing director.
Steve Kerr thinks that Luke Walton shares what Los Angeles is losing by separating from Walton.
Johnson explained in his decision to resign that he was planning to fire Walton on Wednesday, when the Lakers held their departure interviews, but he did not want to "disappoint" Jeanie Buss and embarrass in his relationship with Walton his own relationship with Buss.
Pursued for trying to merge a team of eclectic veterans with one-year contracts and a core of potential young hopefuls still learning to play with James, with a plethora of bullets but not enough shots, Walton had intimidating work in the NBA.
While Johnson was preaching patience in pre-season knowing that it would take time for the new composition to come into place, Johnson scolded Walton during a meet at just six games of the season. The Hall of Fame leader was unhappy with the team's defense and slow start, but then told the Los Angeles Times and ESPN that Walton would not be fired except in the event of an unexpected event. Johnson, however, said his relations with Walton were good after the incident, which he considered exaggerated.
Walton had the Lakers at 20-14 on Christmas Eve after a dazzling victory at Golden State, and they seemed to be about to meet. But the workings were spectacular when James and Rajon Rondo were injured in the match, sending the Lakers into a desperate situation they could never recover from.
Suspensions, injuries, endless tragedies, inexcusable losses of ground food teams and even a buffet of gaffes on the ground – enough to provide the Internet with ammunition to produce a parody of "One Shining Moment" – smothered the season of Lakers and convicted Walton.
Walton would lose Lonzo Ball (ankle) and Brandon Ingram (blood clot at the shoulder) at the end of the season while the Lakers would reunite James, Ingram and Ball for only 23 games, or 15-8 during this period . Together, Lakers players have missed more than 210 games due to injuries and the team has used more than 25 different starting lineups this season.
"They went to work every day, regardless of the criticism they received, regardless of their control, they entered the cinema, watched film hours, whether for us or the other teams, following opponents " Josh Hart said Wednesday to Walton and his staff. "They did everything right, I'll say it .. Obviously, it was frustrating, the injuries, the inability to have regular alignment were frustrating and difficult for them."
Rondo, the sixth team in his career, congratulated Walton for his ability to build relationships with the players.
"He has a lot of good trends for a young coach that some coaches probably do not develop all their life, or their entire career," Rondo said Wednesday. "It was fun, he was a hell coach for whom to play and I just told him at the rally that I had a good time this year also learning from him and the challenge that he had. he launched me this year. "
For the fifth time since Phil Jackson last sat on the Lakers bench in 2010-11, the Lakers will be looking for a new head coach to try to revive the proud franchise and take it to the playoffs for the first time since Season 2012-13.