Published On: Fri, Jan 12th, 2018

Report: Some execs believe Lakers eyeing Fizdale to replace Walton

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LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 2: Head Coaches Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers and David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies talk after the game on April 2, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ failure to publicly back head coach Luke Walton in the wake of the latest LaVar Ball fiasco has tongues wagging inside and outside the NBA. And some in the league’s hierarchy believe it’s evidence the Lakers will ultimately dismiss Walton and replace him with David Fizdale.

“I got executives in my ear, I got agents in my ear, saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale'”, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told The Rich Eisen Show Friday.

After Ball said last weekend that the Lakers – including his son Lonzo – had checked out on Walton, the organization did not shoot the story down. While rookie Kyle Kuzma came to Walton’s defense, nothing was heard from the team’s brain trust of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. Lonzo himself offered a tepid “I’ll play for anybody.”

Fizdale casts an interesting figure as a free-agent bench boss. Fired by the Memphis Grizzlies in November, the 43-year-old L.A. native has a reputation as a player’s coach with friends throughout the league. In fact, LeBron James – an expected free agency target of the Lakers – is close with Fizdale from his time as a Miami Heat assistant.

The last public endorsement of Walton from the Lakers came from president Jeanie Buss, who tweeted “In Luke we trust” on New Year’s Eve, before the recent controversy.

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