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Report: LeBron James’ camp wants Lakers to fire Luke Walton

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles talks with LeBron James #23 during a pre-season basketball game against Sacramento Kingsat Staples Center on October 4, 2018 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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The Lakers keep saying Luke Walton’s job is safe the rest of this season.

But there are also reasons they kept getting asked.

Jackie MacMullan and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

  • MacMullan: “It’s clear to me – and probably to you, Brian – that LeBron’s camp would prefer a coaching change. They’re not too subtle about that. So, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t. I don’t think it’s fair.”
  • Windhorst: “Of course, LeBron publicly hasn’t talked in a month. LeBron publicly –"
  • MacMullan: “Not LeBron, but all the people around LeBron.”
  • Windhorst: “That’s right.”
  • MacMullan: “There’s plenty of them. And they’ve made it known. I don’t think this a shock, is it? For me to say this? I don’t think so.”
  • Windhorst “That’s a fair thing to say. That’s a fair thing to say.”

LeBron James hasn’t publicly criticized Walton. That’s an important distinction.

But it’s tough to see people close to LeBron defying him this way.

LeBron doesn’t quickly warm up to coaches, and Walton hasn’t exactly wowed this season. Maybe that’s unfair to Walton. He’s acclimating a lot of new pieces, and LeBron has been hurt. Walton is also a young coach still learning on the job.

But, with LeBron, the Lakers have greater urgency to win soon. They don’t necessarily have time to let Walton develop. Lakers president Magic Johnson also inherited, rather than hired, Walton. Johnson has criticized Walton.

Count this as yet another indicator Walton is on thin ice.