Lakers halted unauthorized Lonzo Ball surgery during Magic Johnson's final weeks


Lakers guard Rajon Rondo said just this week that Walton "did a hell of a job with what he had, the cards he was dealt". The Lakers announced the news in a statement, freeing up the team to go find a new coach and Walton to find a new team.

A move to Sacramento then, with its young, raw roster, may be a better fit for Walton heading forward.

The Lakers improved their record in each of Walton's three seasons, but never finished higher than third place in the Pacific Division. It was a decision that had been rumored for a while and Johnson even alluded to it in the press conference when he resigned.

While Walton and the Lakers made great strides in their first two seasons together, LeBron James signing in free agency changed expectations.

"I said today on Undisputed that it felt like Jeanie Buss would dig in and keep Luke Walton, to spite Magic and LeBron".

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Walton had the Lakers at 20-14 on Christmas night after a blowout win at Golden State, and they appeared to be on the verge of coming together.

James missed 17 games with a left groin injury and the Lakers, as a whole, missed a combined 210 games because of injuries, including those to Lonzo Ball (ankle) and Brandon Ingram (blood clot in shoulder) that ended their respective seasons.

"They came into work every day, no matter what criticism they were under, no matter what scrutiny they were under, they came in, watched hours of film, whether it was on us or other teams, next opponents", Josh Hart said Wednesday of Walton and his staff. The team's offensive output marked an increase of 15.4 points per game after the Kings finished last in the National Basketball Association at 98.8 points during the 2017-18 season. They're losing somebody who players believe in and players that want to play for.

While Walton's replacement hasn't been named, multiple reports - including Sports Illustrated and Cleveland's NEWS 5 - have surfaced that Ty Lue is the frontrunner to become the next Lakers coach.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Tyronn Lue's name is at the head of the list to fill the Lakers' coaching vacancy.