Lakers reached out to Jason Kidd during season
It didn’t take long once the Los Angeles Lakers playoff chances took a massive nosedive for coach Luke Walton to see his job in question. Among the candidates to replace him was former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, whom the Lakers had reached out to at one point in the season to gauge his interest in coaching the team if the position became available, according to Frank Isola of The Athletic.
A high-ranking Lakers official disputes this claim.
The Lakers’ front office was full of ever-growing tension, one only heightened by Magic Johnson’s image as an absentee executive, a label illustrated by one particular moment last season, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic.
“At the end of a week the Lakers were criticized for not backing Walton in the wake of LaVar Ball’s allegations that the coach had lost control of the locker room, Johnson turned up in Hawaii, on lockdown in a fallout shelter following the false missile alert.”
Walton was constantly pointed at with suggestions that it was his desire to play James off the ball more, which in turn inspired the team’s emphasis on adding playmakers in the offseason.
A source with knowledge of Walton’s thinking refuted this vehemently, saying the sequence of events had been unfairly flipped to make Walton look poorly. Walton was given a series of players who lacked shooting, but could handle the ball, and Walton no other choice but to play James, one of his best perimeter shooters, off the ball more.
Other sources told Oram the coaching staff was not consulted prior to making offseason acquisitions, only telling Walton before deals were soon to close.