LOS ANGELES — Luke Walton is out as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after three losing seasons.

General Manager Rob Pelinka announced Walton’s departure Friday, three days after the abrupt resignation of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. Pelinka called Walton leaving a mutual decision.

The former Lakers forward went 98-148 after getting his first permanent head coaching job with the 16-time NBA champion. He leaves three days after the final game of a 37-45 season that was upstaged by the shocking resignation of Johnson, who inherited Walton when he took over the Lakers’ front office in February 2017. Johnson attributed his decision in part to his desire and reluctance to fire Walton, who is close to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

A potential power struggle instead ended with both men out of their jobs. Pelinka announced the move in a possible sign of the increased organizational power of Kobe Bryant’s former agent.

“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” Walton said in a statement issued by the Lakers. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”

Walton joined the Lakers with fanfare in 2016 after his successful tenure alongside Coach Steve Kerr with the powerhouse Warriors. Walton stepped in as Golden State’s interim coach when Kerr was sidelined by health issues to start the 2015-16 season, and he led the Warriors to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record before Kerr returned.

The Lakers improved their record in each of Walton’s three seasons, but never finished higher than third place in the Pacific Division. This year’s team was the franchise’s most successful since a playoff drought began in 2013, but it wasn’t enough to save Walton’s job.

“I think Luke did a hell of a job with what he had, the cards he was dealt,” point guard Rajon Rondo said. “The guys fought every night.”

PELICANS: New Orleans has reached an agreement in principle to make former Cleveland General Manager David Griffin the executive vice president of basketball operations, three people familiar with the situation said.

Griffin will take over for Dell Demps, who was fired in the middle of his ninth season with the club – a few weeks after All-Star Anthony Davis’ trade request in late January.

Griffin’s agreement to join New Orleans, which was first reported by ESPN, puts him at the center of the club’s effort to find the best deal for Davis. Griffin also could decide the fate of Coach Alvin Gentry, who has two years left on his contract.

PISTONS: Coach Dwane Casey says star forward Blake Griffin is still day to day heading into the postseason.

Detroit opens its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against top-seeded Milwaukee on Sunday night. Griffin, who has been dealing with a troublesome left knee, did not play in the regular-season finale Wednesday when Detroit wrapped up a playoff spot by winning at New York.

Griffin played 75 games this season, his most since 2013-14, when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game, along with 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

RAPTORS: Forward OG Anunoby had an emergency appendectomy Thursday, two days before his team begins the playoffs.

There is no timetable for his return, although the 6-foot-8 forward is expected to miss at least the first round. The Raptors open at home Saturday against the Orlando Magic.


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