Somehow, Luke Walton outlived Magic Johnson in Lakerland. With reports indicating that Magic was ready to dismiss Walton and his staff as soon as Wednesday morning, his resignation saved Walton’s job — at least, for now.
A disappointing season and broken relationship with the former Laker president is still a detriment to his resume, one that will be hard for Jeanie (or whoever else steps in) to ignore.
One aspect that could actually help Luke’s chances? Anthony Davis, who is reportedly fond of the L.A. coach.
“Sources around the team said it was apparent that the young players no longer trusted [LeBron] James, believing he was operating behind the scenes to get them traded to New Orleans.,” writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. “At one point, some in Walton’s circles feared [Rich] Paul was trying to use the Davis situation to leverage a coaching change, with the premise being that his arrival would require a higher-caliber coach. But the Lakers received backchannel information that Davis liked Walton and that relieved pressure on the third-year head coach.”
The Lakers’ chase for Davis is the NBA’s worst kept secret. They have been pursuing him for months, even offering up half their roster for him back in February. To hear that he actually likes Luke has got to give some comfort to him and the team going forward.
Despite their mess, everything changes if they can secure just one star this summer.
But it will not be his decision. Ultimately, the Pelicans will make a deal with whichever team they desire. As Boston, New York, and probably the Clippers get involved, it is far from a sure thing that they even land Davis before October.
So, do the Lakers wait to see if they can get Davis before deciding on Luke? Or, is getting him off the books better than waiting for something that is unlikely to happen anyway?