Last week, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson had "admonished" Walton for the team's "sluggish" start to the 2018-19 season. The Lakers, who are in the midst of a five-year playoff drought, are 4-6.
Now, five-time NBA champion Dennis Rodman told TMZ Sports that he believes Walton is being treated unfairly:
"I mean, it's a sad situation," Rodman told TMZ Sports. "I think Luke Walton's been doing a very, very good job with the team."
Los Angeles showed improvement from the first to the second year of Walton's tenure. However, the team went from rebuilding to having playoff hopes when James signed this summer before the coach's third campaign.
Mixing a young core (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart) with veterans (James, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee) is not easy to do while trying to contend for a championship. But this Lakers squad hasn't been far off from winning games. Three of the losses have come by four points or fewer, and only one, a 121-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors, wasn't competitive.
Johnson appears willing to stay patient with Walton, telling the Los Angeles Times' Bill Plaschke over the weekend that there will not be a coaching change this season "unless something drastic happens, which it won't."