Sports

NBA Players, Coaches React to Los Angeles Lakers Parting With Luke Walton

The whirlwind week of change continued for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday as the organization parted ways with head coach Luke Walton. The announcement comes three days after Magic Johnson stepped down as president of the club’s basketball operations at the conclusion of a season where the team didn’t make the playoffs after acquiring LeBron James.

While Walton’s replacement hasn’t been named, multiple reports — including Sports Illustrated and Cleveland’s NEWS 5 — have surfaced that Ty Lue is the frontrunner to become the next Lakers coach. Lue was the Cleveland Cavaliers coach who led the Cavs to three-straight NBA Finals — and one title — with James leading the way.

Players, coaches and personalities from around the league began weighing in through social media channels on Walton’s dismissal.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called Walton “one of the best human beings in the NBA.” Walton was an assistant at Golden State for two seasons before taking the helm in Los Angeles.

Lakers guard Rajon Rondo said just this week that Walton “did a hell of a job with what he had, the cards he was dealt."

Walton spent three seasons as the Lakers head coach, compiling a 98-148 record in that time, according to ESPN. The franchise signed James last offseason, and expectations rose. However, James missed 23 games because of injury in the 2018-19 season, and the Lakers finished 37-45, good for 10th in the Western Conference. As only the top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs, the Lakers will miss the postseason.

The Lakers wished their former coach well when announcing his departure.

“The Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways.

"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years," said General Manager Rob Pelinka. "We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward."

Sports talk personality Skip Bayless said earlier he hoped Lakers owner Jeanie Buss would keep Walton to spite its star player and Magic Johnson.

“I said today on Undisputed that it felt like Jeanie Buss would dig in and keep Luke Walton, to spite Magic and LeBron. Glory be, she relented and let 'son' Luke go. Great sign. No more all-in-the-family. Bring on Ty Lue for LBJ.”

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