Report: Magic Johnson ‘admonished’ Luke Walton over Lakers’ slow start
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton was on the receiving end of stern lecture from boss Magic Johnson this week over the team’s sluggish start, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin.
League sources tell ESPN that Lakers president admonished Walton following a winless road trip that included losses to the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves in back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. It merits noting that the Lakers rebounded from the two-game slide by defeating the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
The Lakers have stumbled to a 3-5 start following the high-profile addition of LeBron James and an influx of additional veteran talent with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee.
Johnson previously preached patience with a new-look Lakers lineup, saying time would be needed to allow James and the rest of the new additions to gel with the young players already on the roster. Still, the suspicion is that Walton could be coaching for his job at this point, despite the fact even James made it clear the Lakers had a lot of work in front of them.
League sources also say that Johnson’s meeting with Walton, not to the mention the tone, circulated throughout the organization, even reaching Lakers co-owner and CEO Jeanie Buss. Wojnarowski and McMenamin add in their report that this kind of rhetoric and management style has been common during Johnson’s tenure.
Johnson, along with general manager Rob Pelinka, have been praised by the likes of Kobe Bryant and Buss over the construction of the Lakers’ roster and their collective approach to turning the team into an eventual contender.
That said, it certainly sounds like Johnson is running short on patience and expected Walton to lead the team to a much better start, even if the Lakers boss previously appeared to have given the coach a longer leash.