Sportress of Blogitude

Luke Walton reportedly in no ‘imminent danger’ of being fired

The Los Angeles Lakers have not surprisingly struggled amid LeBron James’ recent absence due to injury, but Luke Walton’s job reportedly remains safe.

The Athletic’s Sam Amick mentions in his Tuesday “Notes” column that Walton, currently in his third year as Lakers head coach, is not in any “imminent danger” of getting fired by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.

Interestingly, it was Johnson who was said to have “admonished” Walton when the Lakers stumbled out of the gate by starting the season with a 3-5 record.

That said, the Lakers rebounded with James leading the way, winning 14 of 19 games from early November to mid-December to reach a season-high seven games over .500 with an 18-11 record. 

It merits noting that Johnson indicated in the wake of James’ injury on Dec. 25 that the Lakers would not hit the panic button as the superstar recovered from a groin injury.

James has missed the last seven games since that blowout win over the Warriors on Christmas Day, with the Lakers posting a 2-5 record.

James’ absence is further compounded by how Rajon Rondo has appeared in only 14 games this season and is currently on the shelf after undergoing surgery in late December to repair a ligament in his right ring finger.

James, meanwhile, is expected to be re-evaluated at some point this week to establish a timeline for his potential return.

The notion that the Lakers would fire Walton when the team is so shorthanded seems like a bit of a reach, so the news that no such move reportedly is being considered makes sense.

After all, the Lakers (22-19) still occupy the eighth spot in the loaded Western Conference standings despite the team’s recent slide. That said, it’s conceivable that team brass will begin to seriously evaluate Walton’s future with the organization should the Lakers struggle once the roster returns to a state of relative health.