Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton was surprised when GM Mitch Kupchak and EVP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss were removed from their positions. In fact, according to Walton, one of the questions he asked during his interview with the Lakers back in 2016 was whether or not the front office management in LA would be stable.
The Lakers’ answer: yes.
That information is just part of a long interview Walton did with USA Today’s Sam Amick, which is worth reading in full if you really want to soak up every angle of this Lakers debacle.
Via USA Today:
“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.”
Of course, given that Walton was speaking with both Buss and Kupchak in his interviews, this is more about Walton feeling eased that their positions were safe via their own word. The situation in Lakerland has evolved since then, with Jeanie Buss taking over and blocking her brothers’ move to oust her from her position. It’s gotten weird, to say the least.
Walton was brought in after a stellar assistant coaching job with the Golden State Warriors, but will have to readjust now that Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson, and Rob Pelinka will be the trio in charge of the Lakers moving forward.
LA is 19-43 in Walton’s first year so far, but has shown some promise with some of their younger players.