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ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst appeared on The Rich Eisen Show on Friday and said he’s been contacted by executives and agents who believe Luke Walton may not be long for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton,” Windhorst said (h/t Slam‘s Ryne Nelson). “And that is now crystal-clear.”
Windhorst added: “And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me—executives, coaches, agents—who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach.”
Beyond that, Windhorst cited agents and executives who think the Lakers are “probably going to hire” former Miami Heat assistant and former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale if Walton is let go.
The speculation, Windhorst cautioned, “may not be true,” so it’s worth taking with a grain of salt.
However, it bears to be highlighted simply because the Lakers brass, including controlling owner Jeanie Buss and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, have refrained from issuing a statement supporting Walton after LaVar Ball said he had lost the team in the midst of a nine-game losing streak.
“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more,” Ball told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. “Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him.”
LaVar’s son, Lonzo, has since said he will “play for anybody.”
“My job is to play basketball,” Ball added, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Tania Ganguli. “I don’t decide who coaches.”
Fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma took a stronger stance.
“Luke is my guy,” he said, according to Ganguli. “I love playing for him. … We just gotta stay looked in as a family and listen to the people that matter in our basketball lives. … We stand by Luke. I know the front office does.”
The Lakers have rattled off a season-high three-game winning streak and improved to 14-27 overall since LaVar’s comments were published.