Before announcing he was stepping down as Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson had not spoken to coach Luke Walton "in weeks," ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported on Tuesday.
According to Shelburne, Walton's working relationship with Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka has not been close, and the two sides have reportedly not had a meaningful conversation in several weeks. The Lakers failed to make the playoffs in their first season with LeBron James.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss told ESPN she intended to let Johnson and Pelinka decide whether or not to retain Walton after the season's end. Once Walton's most vocal advocate, Buss stopped short of recommending his return to Los Angeles following the Lakers' disappointing season.
"I will always defer to Magic," Buss said.
Walton, 39, was hired by the Lakers in April 2016 after a successful stint as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr. He was drafted by the Lakers with the 32nd pick in the 2003 and played in Los Angeles for over eight seasons, winning two championships.
Walton is 98–147 in his three seasons as the Lakers' coach.