With the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline now in the books, the Los Angeles Lakers must focus on getting back into the Western Conference playoff race.
The Lakers were aggressive in a potential Anthony Davis trade, but the New Orleans Pelicans ended up opting to wait until the offseason to truly field offers for the 25-year-old.
Despite not trading for Davis, Los Angeles should still be able to make a run at a playoff spot. LeBron James is back in the starting lineup after missing 17 games due to a groin strain and it is hard to imagine the 34-year-old missing the playoffs completely.
“Luke’s done an amazing job. We’re totally unified; Magic and Luke and I talk all the time. Through this whole trade deadline process, we would spend hours on the phone just kind of going over different roster compositions, different skill sets we needed. Our communication is lockstep. He’s been tremendous. I think he has a passion to get this team in the playoffs, and you’re going to see him aggressively coach us to the very end, and we’re going to all stay together and support one another.”
Walton’s job security has been a popular topic among the media given all the pressure he is under to win. A scolding from president of basketball operations Magic Johnson earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season revealed that Walton could indeed be on the hot seat and the team’s struggles in James’ absence only exacerbated things.
Former Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has already been linked to the Lakers should Walton be fired. Kidd is already reportedly promoting himself for the head coaching job, signaling that Walton’s tenure could be coming to an end following the season.
However, should Walton and the Lakers make it to the playoffs and perform well, it is hard to imagine Johnson and Pelinka letting him go. The two-time champion may be coaching for his job these next couple of months, so it will be interesting to see how the Lakers perform.