Magic Johnson Says Luke Walton Will ‘Finish The Season, Unless Something Drastic Happens’

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Luke Walton’s seat began heating up in Los Angeles the moment LeBron James arrived, because expectations immediately rose and, as such, so did pressure to produce results.

After a rollercoaster ride of an opening nine games that sees the Lakers holding onto a 4-5 record, rumblings about Walton’s job security only grew. That was especially the case after a meeting with team president Magic Johnson in which the Hall of Famer “shouted and cursed” at Walton over the team’s performance.

On Sunday, with the Lakers set to host the Toronto Raptors (without Kawhi Leonard), Johnson spoke with a trio of reporters confirming the meeting took place, but asserted that Walton’s job was safe and he would at the least finish the season, albeit with the ominous “unless something drastic happens” tacked on to the end.

The vote of confidence is never what a coach wants to hear, but the positive spin on this is that the organization wants Walton to have the season to work things out and figure things out with this team. The bigger issue for the Lakers moving forward, whether Walton is the coach or not, is that Johnson and Rob Pelinka are the ones that built this roster that everyone saw having shortcomings, particularly on defense, and seem to be insistent that it’s a roster built to win now and compete in the loaded West.

Now, it can be said that the Lakers are underperforming even to what this roster could be, which most put optimistically at a bottom half team in the West playoff race, but aside from LeBron James it wasn’t exactly a tremendous offseason for Johnson on the free agent market. That may be the product of the market and available players and they left themselves room to make dramatic changes next summer, but there seems to be a possible disconnect between the reality of this roster and the expectations. If that continues, Walton may last this season, but not much more.