Luke Walton was surprised by the Lakers' front office reshuffling
Lakers coach Luke Walton was surprised by the Lakers' front office reshuffling, he told USA Today's Sam Amick.
Walton said there was a meeting scheduled for him, former GM Mitch Kupchak, former executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss and Magic Johnson on the day Kupchak and Buss were fired.
"I was driving to breakfast (when he heard that they had been fired)," Walton told Amick. "And yeah, I was surprised. We had a meeting scheduled with all four of us (Walton, Jim, Kupchak and Johnson), and I was going to breakfast before the morning and then my phone started blowing up, so I came in.
"Honestly, it wasn’t ever clear to me (that Jim and Kupchak would be on their way out) because when I interviewed that was one of the questions I asked, was ‘Are we going to be in this together?’ And they said ‘Yeah,’ so I was under the assumption that (it was) Jimmy and Mitch. So I wasn’t worried about this or that. I was expecting that that was the front office, the whole time I was going to be here, at least for a while, so there wasn’t any uncertainty with me."
Magic Johnson was named president of basketball operations on Feb. 21, just a few weeks after he was hired as a consultant to the Lakers franchise. Johnson then hired agent Rob Pelinka to be the team's general manager.
Jeanie Buss, the Lakers' controlling owner, said after the changes that she probably waited too long to remove her brother Jim.
The Buss family drama took a new turn when the Los Angeles Times reported last week that Jeanie Buss thwarted an attempt by her brothers to seize control of the franchise.
The Lakers started the season 10-10 but are just 9-34 since. They have lost seven straight and have the second-worst record in the league at 19-44.