With Kobe and Bynum returning to the lineup, the Lakers could be shutting Luke Walton down until the Playoffs, or longer: “The Lakers knew when they rested Luke Walton earlier this season that his back problems were complex enough that they might return — and they have, to the point that Walton realistically is not going to give the Lakers much contribution the rest of this season. Phil Jackson suggested it remains possible that Walton’s pinched nerve could improve to the point that he could ‘help us in the playoffs,’ but the Lakers don’t have much reason to believe improvement is coming. The problem is such that it could continue to hound the Walton and the club even beyond this season. Walton is getting $4.8 million this season and has three more years worth $16.7 million left on his deal, one that the Lakers obviously regret giving out in light of Walton’s injuries.”
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