April 12, 2019 / 8:54 PM / 13 days ago

Lakers part ways with head coach Luke Walton

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers and head coach Luke Walton have agreed to part ways after the team posted a disappointing 37-45 record and failed to end a playoff drought stretching back to 2013.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton reacts during the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Walton spent three seasons at the helm of a team that struggled to find the right pieces to complement 15-time All-Star LeBron James in his first season in Los Angeles.

“We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a press release issued on Friday.

“We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.”

Walton said he was grateful to team owner Jeanie Buss for the chance to coach the team, where he won two championships as a player.

“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” he said.

“This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”

Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is seen as an early frontrunner for the job, according to ESPN.

Lue, who won two championships with the Lakers as a player, coached James to a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.

(This story corrects number of seasons Walton was Lakers coach in para 2)

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris

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