Luke Walton: ‘LeBron and I get along just fine’
Luke Walton reportedly has been on the hot seat almost the entire season, but the embattled Los Angeles Lakers head coach insists that he has a great relationship with the person who may wield the biggest influence on his ongoing — but shaky — job security.
Walton was greeted by TMZ Sports at LAX and was asked about reports suggesting he and LeBron James are not seeing eye to eye. He downplayed the notion, saying, “LeBron and I get along just fine.”
Despite reports indicating the Lakers may be itching to make a move on the coaching front, general manager Rob Pelinka gave his beleaguered head coach the dreaded vote of confidence last week, although that does not mean the the team couldn’t switch gears and fire Walton.
That said, Lakers co-owner and CEO Jeanie Buss has repeatedly backed Walton and is believed to be against a midseason coaching change.
However, the assumption is that if James — who reportedly has been frustrated with Lakers’ direction this season — wants to send Walton walking, the Lakers arguably would have to give it serious consideration.
Further, James’ camp reportedly prefers a coaching change, something that obviously does not bode well for Walton’s future with the Lakers organization.
The Lakers come out of the All-Star break sitting at 28-29, which leaves the team slotted 10th and on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoff chase. Walton nevertheless believes the Lakers have what it takes to turn around their season, saying, “We’ll be alright.”
Having James on the roster obviously bolsters Walton’s reason for optimism. Still, whether Walton is allowed to see things through presumably will be largely dependent on whether the Lakers can get on a run and quickly rattle off some wins.
On the other hand, should the Lakers stumble out of the break, it’s certainly conceivable Walton could be sent packing, as there already has been a name floated concerning who could be his replacement.