Luke Walton spent an entire season on the hot seat, and was likely resigned to his fate before Magic Johnson, you know, resigned. But while we know the damage the trade deadline did to the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers roster, it might have actually served to help Walton’s chances at sticking around longer than even he envisioned — even if he’s now gone.
Tucked away in this piece from Bill Oram of The Athletic earlier this week was a tidbit that is worth paying close attention to as the Lakers head into an offseason that is as crucial as it is tense and unpredictable:
At one point, some in Walton’s circles feared 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.
For those wondering how Davis would even gather enough information to feel any way about Walton, remember: He’s coached currently by Alvin Gentry, who spent time with Luke on the Golden State Warriors coaching staff under Steve Kerr. Between that and the typical back channeling players do, Davis is probably pretty well-informed on Walton, and just about any coach out there.
Walton does relate very well to players, even if there are major holes in his abilities otherwise. If Davis really does feel this way about him (and there’s no reason not to believe Oram’s report on the subject), this would seem to improve Walton’s chances of finding his next job (which may be incoming shortly):
Just landed in SF and was told that Vlade Divac has contacted Luke Walton about Sacramento Kings job and is trying to set up meeting with the former Lakers coach, per source— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) April 12, 2019
We’ll see how things play out once the offseason really gets underway regarding Davis’ eventual destination, but nuggets like these are really important for someone like Walton as he moves on to his next gig.