Luke Walton Already Planning His Retirement

by August 24, 2011

Luke Walton’s new assistant coach gig at Memphis isn’t just some lockout stunt. The Lakers’ forward knows that his playing days are numbered, and coaching may be something he seriously pursues once his NBA career ends. From the OC Register: “Even though he’s just 31 – the same age as Pau Gasol – Walton is being proactive in pursuing his post-playing life. Walton will start a new full-time job Saturday as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis for as long as the NBA lockout lasts. ‘Unfortunately, for every player there comes the end of his career,’ Walton said, ‘and it’s just something I’ve been thinking about.’ Josh Pastner, Walton’s former teammate at the University of Arizona and the hotshot head coach at Memphis co-authoring the new chapter in Walton’s life, puts it more definitively. ‘He does want to coach when he’s done playing,’ Pastner said of Walton. Even though Walton has always cringed at comparisons to his oft-injured father Bill and good-naturedly blamed me one time for reporting Phil Jackson’s description of him as a ‘toilet-tissue player,’ there is no doubt now that Walton’s body has undermined his playing career. He has had a variety of injuries throughout and now is dealing with a back so bad that it was a major victory for him just to be available at the end of last season – even though he didn’t play a minute in the Lakers’ postseason until four minutes of truly malodorous garbage time in that fourth and final game in Dallas.”