Report: Buss told Johnson to fire Walton at end of season

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

According to Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Chris Haynes, former Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson intended on firing Luke Walton. He reportedly refused to “bulk” up his coaching staff.

Johnson had an impromptu news conference on Tuesday, where he announced he was stepping down as the Lakers President of Basketball Operations. He reportedly was not happy with Walton’s “ability to effectively make in-game adjustments.” according to the Yahoo! Sports story.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson discusses the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers season at UCLA Health Training Center
Earvin “Magic” Johnson discusses the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers season (Getty Images)

He also felt that the coaching staff did not have the experience that it needed. Walton and his staff reportedly did not foster player development, according to Johnson’s thoughts.

This season, former Lakers players D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle had career seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and the New Orleans Pelicans. Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka were responsible for making these moves.

As Russell and Randle had success elsewhere, this led Johnson to question to question the coaching staff.

Despite adding LeBron James in the off-season, which was a huge get for the Lakers, they failed in adding help around him. As a result, Los Angeles failed to reach the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

Haynes reported that Johnson wanted to fire Walton in-season. However, Jeanie Buss refused to allow Johnson to make the move.

There has been speculation that Walton will be fired. He has one guaranteed year left on his deal with an option for the 2020-21 season. Following the 104-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Walton refused to speak to the media about Johnson’s shocking resignation.

Once the Lakers do move on without Walton, the team is expected to consider former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams, and former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson. Former Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has also been mentioned.

Lue and Williams are expected to be the front-runners for the job. Lue and James were previously together with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2016, the duo led the Cavaliers to the NBA Championship.

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