Prior to the 2018-19 NBA season, the Lakers preached patience with LeBron James and the young core, but that apparently changed after a 2-5 start.
While Johnson reportedly made ‘no threats’ to Walton’s job security, he and general manager Rob Pelinka ultimately did not hire him.
After the Toronto Raptors ended their two-game winning streak, Johnson spoke for the first time since the meeting, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“Yeah, we’re not going to fire him,” Johnson told ESPN after the Lakers fell behind 41-10 in the first quarter on Sunday before losing to the Toronto Raptors 121-107 at home. “[The meeting last week with Walton] wasn’t even a meeting about that. We just have to be better, and that was it.”
As Johnson declined to comment on what ‘drastic’ means, there remains pressure on Walton to win now. Whether it is fair or not, the reality is James’ arrival brings immediate championship expectations and the Lakers need to be competitive in the Western Conference.
After two consecutive wins since the meeting, the Lakers were dominated by the Toronto Raptors in the second game of a back-to-back situation. While it was considered a schedule loss, the Lakers did not stick to their main principle of closing out possessions.