That’s the verdict of LaVar Ball, father of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers’ playoff prospects have been questioned due to the impact of the Anthony Davis trade saga.
Los Angeles failed to land the New Orleans Pelicans big man but it was made clear in trade negotiations that everyone on the roster was available bar LeBron James, causing a potentially damaging blow in morale to the team’s younger players.
That certainly showed when they were defeated by 42 points at the Indiana Pacers, although they beat the Boston Celtics 129-128 at TD Garden with a Rajon Rondo buzzer-beater.
Lonzo sat out due to an ankle injury that will sideline him for a few more weeks but LaVar believes his son Lonzo is being misused by Walton.
The 38-year-old head coach has attracted plenty of criticism and speaking before the deadline passed to Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports’ The Herd, LaVar declared that Walton’s system is not right for his roster and that he needs to be sacked for the Lakers to really make progress.
“He’s going to be traded or if not Luke’s not going to be there because him and Luke don’t mix,” LaVar said of Lonzo when asked whether the 21-year-old’s long-term future was decided in the Lakers’ attempts to recruit Davis.
“It doesn’t matter if Luke came and said, ‘I’m going to start you every game, play you 45 minutes.’ Lonzo would be like, ‘Okay’ but the loyalty is gone.
“He didn’t use Lonzo the right way. People talking about Lonzo getting better on the fact that everybody on the Lakers was hurt so now you’ve got to play Lonzo more minutes, I always said to play him 35-plus and start him in the third quarter and let him go get these victories.
“If you don’t start him fourth quarter, that means you have no confidence in him. If you wait until the last five or six minutes and say, ‘Go see what you can do’, he misses a shot and ‘Come on, out of there.’
“He would play Lonzo first six minutes of the first quarter and regardless of good or bad, he’s coming out, for what?
“He’s been losing for three years. He turned my son into a loser. ‘You’ll get it, you’re a rookie, you’ve got time,’ I don’t want to hear all that, go out there and do the job.
“It would work if they were played the right way, which is together. Their IQ, which makes them both great.
“You’ve seen Lonzo throw the ball ahead a lot, if LeBron [James] just leaks out and runs out, ‘If you don’t get a rebound, sprint, we’ll give you the ball.’
“Same thing with Lonzo. When Lonzo leaks out there, LeBron’s the only one who throws him a lob and throws the ball early to Lonzo.
“Everybody’s worried about the players, it’s nothing to do with the players, it’s the system and the coach.
“If you don’t have a coach that can coach them, it’s not going to work. If you don’t have a system, it’s not going to work.”
Asked who he would appoint as successor, LaVar added: “Brian Shaw is the guy.
“Anytime you fire a head coach, that assistant coach got a good rapport with that team, he knows what’s going on, he just has to wait for his opportunity. I give you a good example, [David] Blatt at Cleveland.
“Tyronn Lue, he knew what to do but he’s not going to give the head coach the insight and make him look like he’s doing the right thing.
“You’re just going to sit back and be quiet. Brian Shaw, I watched him coach a game after Luke got thrown out, it was night and day.
Told the Lakers were on course for a 48-win season before LeBron’s injury, LaVar replied: “He was going to win more than that if you play Lonzo the right way.”