Luke Walton was blindsided by news of Lakers upheaval

Lakers coach Luke Walton was driving to breakfast when he found out that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak – the two men who hired him with a five-year, $25 million contract last summer – had been fired.

Walton got the unsettling news on Tuesday, Feb. 21, the same day the rest of the NBA world also heard that Lakers president Jeanie Buss had relieved executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss (her brother) and GM Kupchak of their duties and put Magic Johnson in charge of the team’s basketball operations. Johnson has since hired Rob Pelinka, a former player agent, as GM.

I was driving to breakfast, Walton told USA Today. And yeah, I was surprised. We had a meeting scheduled with all four of us (Walton, Jim, Kupchak and Johnson), and I was going to breakfast before the morning and then my phone started blowing up, so I came in.

The move by Jeannie Buss wasn’t a total shock to pro hoops observers. The Lakers have been struggling on the basketball court the last several years under the guidance of Jim Buss and Kupchak.

Walton, though, didn’t see it coming.

Al Horford, the Celtics’ prized offseason addition, hasn’t fared well when playing against his old team, the Hawks. Those struggles continued with a 1-for-8 shooting performance and just four points in 27 minutes. The big man is averaging 6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in three games against Atlanta (1-2) this season.

Geno Atkins Kids Jersey Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe came off the bench and poured in a career-high eight of his 10 3-point attempts for 25 points.

Elite Mens Darryl Morris Jersey Thunder (45-33) at Suns (22-57), 10 p.m. ET — Russell Westbrook came ever so close to making NBA history Wednesday, falling one rebound shy of his 42nd triple-double. He’ll get a couple more cracks at Oscar Robertson’s single-season record, and the odds are good it falls tonight. The Thunder star is averaging 41.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 13.7 assists in three games against the Suns this season.