The Los Angeles Lakers have slowly begun stabilizing after enduring a disastrous nine game losing streak, turning the page just as they hit the lowest of lows of their season. Not only were they down and out, but LaVar Ball threw fuel to the fire with his controversial comments about Luke Walton losing the locker room.
The Lakers have since rattled off three wins in a row to wrap up their five-game homestand, and Walton’s even had some fun joking about LaVar barbing him along the way. Just as it seemed things were getting back to normal, Brian Windhorst of ESPN rocked the boat once again.
Windhorst joined The Rich Eisen Show to discuss the coaching situation in Los Angeles. The feeling around the league, according to what Windhorst has been told, is that the Lakers do not have “unconditional support” for Walton.
“Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton. That is now crystal clear, and there are now guys out there wondering openly to me — executives, coaching agents — wondering who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach.
“That has been revealed here, that they do not have unconditional support for Luke,” Windhorst said.
The Lakers didn’t come out swinging against LaVar’s criticisms, but that’s a slippery slope either way. Responding directly to Ball gives a level of credence to his comments, and opens the door for an even-more-awkward feud to build up. Walton wasn’t fazed by Ball either, expressing full confidence that the front office believes in his ability to lead the franchise.
Windhorst also shed light on another angle that “people” believe could be playing out simultaneously. Former Memphis Grizzlies head coach and Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale could already be on the Lakers’ radar, especially if they believe it can help draw LeBron James out to Los Angeles.
“You want to know what people are saying behind the scenes? You want to know what they’re saying? What coach has LeBron tweeted about most recently? What coach got fired this year and LeBron tweeted about him?
“Los Angeles native David Fizdale. This may not be true, the Lakers may intend to keep [Luke], but what I’m telling is the way the events have gone down, I’ve got executives in my ear, I have agents in my ear saying ‘Oh yeah they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale,’” Windhorst said.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have been incredibly supportive of Walton since taking over the front office, entrusting him to build the kind of culture they want in El Segundo. By all accounts, the leading duo has been happy with the internal progress of the team dating back to summer workouts before training camp.
File this one under Rumors > Lakers > LeBron > Coaching Preferences for the time being.