Walton was an assistant on Golden State’s staff from 2014 to 2016.
Steve Kerr didn’t approve of the Lakers’ firing of Luke Walton.
The Warriors coach addressed Los Angeles’ decision Friday, telling reporters it lost “one of the best human beings.”
Steve Kerr on the Lakers firing Luke Walton: “They’re losing one of the best human beings in the league.” Here’s his full, strong backing of Walton. pic.twitter.com/nNo6uOS1i1
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 12, 2019
“I’m disappointed for Luke. In this job, as a coach in the NBA, you are 100 percent dependent on your circumstances — the strength of your organization, the momentum, the unity,” Kerr said, via The Athletic. “Everything has to be in good order. If it’s not, as we have witnessed with the Lakers, then there’s going to be casualties and usually the coach is the first one.
“They’re losing one of the best human beings in the NBA, they’re losing a guy who knows the game as well as anybody I’ve ever met.”
Walton was an assistant on Golden State’s staff from 2014 to 2016. He served as the interim head coach of the Warriors, leading them to an NBA record 24-0 start and 39-4 record before Kerr returned from health issues.
The team finished 2015-16 with a 73-9 mark which is the most wins all time. Kerr was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year that season, despite being present for fewer games than Walton.
Walton went 98-148 in his three years with the Lakers and said Los Angeles would always be “special” to him and his family in a statement following his release.
The franchise finished 2018-19 with a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs for its sixth time in as many years.
It likely would have competed for a postseason spot had LeBron James not missed a lengthy spell battling a groin injury. But regardless, this is not the year Lakers fans expected.
Los Angeles will likely look very different next season, as former Lakers superstar Magic Johnson also stepped down from his role as president of basketball operations earlier this week.