Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton insists his relationship with team president Earvin "Magic" Johnson is a good one.
Walton has been under pressure for most of the season and hasn't been helped by losing LeBron James to a groin injury last month.
The young coach has faced a lot of criticism from fans since LeBron went down with said injury on Christmas Day. But things must have been a lot scarier when Magic dressed him down in an October meeting following the team's 2-5 start.
Things picked up slowly and Walton's Lakers managed to put 14 wins together in a 19-game span from November 7 to December 15. Unfortunately, though, both James and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo have been out since Christmas and the team has only managed three wins in the nine games they've played without their leaders.
Walton took part in an interview with The Athletic's Sam Amick this week and was asked about his relationship with Johnson.
“It’s been good,” he replied. “Honestly, it has. …Anytime I call him, he calls back within an hour or two, and we talk hoops. He wants to win, and I want to win. So as far as that (goes), we’re all trying to do the same thing, and I don’t feel like he’s trying to move me out of there.
“We definitely talked about (the Oct. 30 meeting). Me and him, one on one. We one hundred percent have moved forward from it. I don’t think it has changed anything. We still – it’s still the ultimate goal, and there’s time when I’ll call him or go sit in his office and pick his brain on what he’s seeing and what kind of suggestions he might have. But there’s no – what’s the word – discomfort.
"I don’t walk in there, and it’s like ‘F**k, I’ve got to go talk to Magic.’ Like, I have no problem going in and sitting down with him and talking about what’s going on without thinking about that at all.”
Luke and I talked Lakers this week over coffee. Nothing was off limits.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) January 11, 2019
* His view on his job security
* His meeting with Magic & where they are now
* Growth as a coach/meshing with LeBron
* Two wins w/out LBJ AND Taco Tuesday = Happy Luke.https://t.co/1VZXvKUpz1
What This Means
A previous report from Amick suggested that Johnson is not looking to fire Walton, despite calls from the fans. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has also spoken up in the coach's defense, reminding supporters that the team was doing well when they were healthy.
Things are unlikely to improve significantly until James is cleared for action. Hopefully, it won't be too late for Walton.