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Report: Lakers expected to fire Luke Walton after season

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 31: Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during the first half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center on January 31, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Even when saying Luke Walton would finish the season as Lakers coach, Lakers president Magic Johnson added, “unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”

Some vote of confidence.

The new information since: Johnson is unhappy with Walton’s offense, defense and assistant coaches. LeBron James’ camp wants Walton fired. Veterans have squabbled with Walton. The Lakers have stumbled to a 30-33 record – 4.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Though the Lakers keep maintaining they’ll keep Walton through the rest of the season, there’s little confidence beyond.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

The prevailing assumption in league coaching circles remains that Walton will almost certainly be dismissed after the season

Maybe people in league coaching circles see what we all see: A team that has failed to meet expectations, a coach working for a president who didn’t hire him, tepid endorsements from that president. Assuming the Lakers will fire Walton after the season is not a radical stance.

But people in coaching circles also sometimes have more information. That possibility adds heft to this report. Are the Lakers setting up a coaching search or even already lining up a replacement? That can be hard to keep quiet.

The Lakers will already have a hard enough time making the playoffs this year. Increased doubt about Walton’s future in Los Angeles will probably make that task even tougher.