Head coach Luke Walton may not be long for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst appeared on The Rich Eisen Show on Friday and stated that not only doesn't Walton have the support of the Lakers, but that the organization may already even have a replacement for him in mind.
"Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton," Windhorst said, via Slam. "And that is now crystal-clear. And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me - executives, coaches, agents - who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach... Because that has been revealed here; that they do not have unconditional support for Luke."
As far as who the Lakers might be eyeing as their next coach after Walton, Windhorst had an answer.
"I got executives in my ear, I got agents in my ear, saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale,'” Windhorst said.
Fizdale, who was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season, served as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat during the team's recent run of Finals appearances led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He is known to be well-respected among the league's players, and with the Lakers expected to be major players in free agency over the summer, that respect could be a factor in the Lakers' line of thinking.
This report from Windhorst regarding Walton's job security - or lack thereof - comes on the heels of comments from Lonzo Ball's father, LaVar Ball, saying that Walton has lost the Lakers locker room and that the team doesn't want to play for him.
"You can see they're not playing for Luke no more," LaVar Ball said of Walton, via ESPN. "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him."
While fellow coaches like Rick Carlisle, Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich have all came to Walton’s defense, the Lakers as an organization have not spoken out in favor of Walton since Ball's comments became part of the news cycle, leading to speculation about the organization's level of support in Walton, who the current administration of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka inherited.
Recent reports suggested that Walton's job is safe - at least for the time being - but things can change quickly in Laker land, where the fans expect an annual contender. Halfway through the 2017-18 season, the Lakers are 13 games under .500 and sit at 13th overall in the Western Conference.
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