The NBA trade deadline has officially passed, and Anthony Davis is still on the New Orleans Pelicans. The Los Angeles Lakers’ failed pursuit of Davis is going to make it difficult for head coach Luke Walton sneak his team into the playoffs and even if he does, there’s a good chance he’s a goner by the end of the season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there’s a growing belief in the locker room that team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka will relieve Walton of his duties sooner rather than later:
“(They are) in a very unstable position with their coaching position. Players know when the coach isn’t supported within the organization at the highest levels. They know... Magic Johnson didn’t hire Luke Walton, and I think the first chance they get to get out from Luke Walton, I think they probably will. The players know that, they sense it, and that adds to all of this.”
That’s hardly breaking news, but it gives fans an inside look at where the front office is mentally and, most importantly, gives some perspective on how they view their part in all of this.
Walton is a flawed coach, sure, but the front office didn’t exactly put him in the best position to succeed this season. Yes, they went out and signed LeBron James, but with their remaining cap space they signed Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
With the exception of Caldwell-Pope, none of those players could be identified as reliable 3-point shooters last summer. Going into free agency, the Lakers needed shooting, if nothing else. That lack of shooting on the roster is a big reason why the Lakers are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The front office attempted to address their shooting woes at the deadline by acquiring Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala, but they had to give up assets to do so. It took them 54 games to do something they should have done in the summer.
If Walton is fired at the end of the season, it won’t be solely because of the imperfect job he did as head coach. At least some of the blame will have to go to the front office failed to give him the personnel everyone knew he and James needed to win games, a reality that has to be recognized when Walton is (seemingly inevitably) scapegoated in June.
Keep track of all the latest Lakers rumors until the trade deadline here. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.