April 12, 2019 / 8:49 PM / 2 months ago

Lakers, Walton mutually part ways

The Los Angeles Lakers and coach Luke Walton mutually parted ways on Friday, general manager Rob Pelinka announced in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 27, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton watches the action against the Utah Jazz in the first half at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Walton’s status had been tenuous, even before Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations on Tuesday. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was reportedly ready to OK a departure after previously being fully supportive of Walton.

“We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years,” Pelinka said in a statement. “We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.”

Walton compiled a 98-148 record in three seasons as coach. Los Angeles missed the playoffs in all three seasons.

“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” Walton said in a statement. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”

The Lakers went 37-45 this season in a disappointing first campaign of the LeBron James era.

Los Angeles was 20-14 when James suffered a groin injury during a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors and the team’s fortunes plummeted from there.

Walton may not be unemployed for a long period as the Sacramento Kings are reportedly interested in interviewing him for their opening.

The Kings went 39-43 this season and fired coach Dave Joerger. They have an impressive young group led by point guard De’Aaron Fox, shooting guard Buddy Hield and power forward Marvin Bagley III.

Among the candidates for the Lakers’ post is former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams.

Lue coached James for parts of three seasons in Cleveland — including the franchise’s 2016 NBA Finals title — while Williams coached the New Orleans Pelicans for five seasons.

Williams also is reported a candidate for the Sacramento job.

—Field Level Media

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