Photo by Mark Ralston | Getty Images

It’s hard to feel bad for Luke Walton. The man plays on one of the top teams in the NBA, has won two championships, has a hall-of-fame player as his dad, and his salary-to-work output ratio is about $170K per made basket during the regular season over the last two years.

But the old adage about money not buying happiness is all but incorrect for Luke, as he’s not too happy having become the premiere example for this year’s NBA lockout of what a bloated salary looks like.

Walton, who will be spending his time this fall as an assistant coach for the University of Memphis, spoke a bit with Petros and Money of Fox Sports Radio this last Friday about his status as a contract non grata:

It obviously bothers me. I haven’t really noticed it because I kind of stay out of the media during the offseason. But obviously it bothers you as a player. You want to feel your worth. Obviously I’m getting paid a salary that was for a much larger role back when we agree upon the deal. I was a playmaker, I was playing 30 minutes a game and I was able to do a lot of things for a team. And I had offers from other teams to do the same thing.

“For the most part, fans have been great out here. Then, all of the sudden you bring in Pau Gasol and other players of that caliber and my role kind of gets smaller and smaller. I can still play the game … then all of the sudden my back goes bad on me and mentally I’m frustrated. … The role that I was paid that money to do kind of got taken away in a sense.”

When Walton resigned with the Lakers in 2007, he was the third leading scorer per game, followed closely by Laker forgettables Smush Parker, Maurice Evans and Kwame Brown.

A contract that was perfectly fair, if even a bargain, back before the Pau Gasol trade and two championships now reflects poorly on Lakers management, but you can’t blame the organization for the move at the time. The roster in 2007 that had Walton as the third-best player pales in comparison to the 2011 roster, where Walton can barely crack the rotation amongst the likes of Gasol, Odom, Barnes and Artest.

Hear the entire Luke Walton interview courtesy our partners at Fox Sports Radio LA.


  • Luke Sucks

    Over-rated and over-priced.  He is a prime example of why long term guaranteed contracts is crippling the NBA.  He was never very good but PJ loved him.

    Do everyone in LA a favor and stay in Memphis as a coach.  Retire already because……..


    • Tonoyangevorg

      Y don’t u just get a life and give the guy a break

      • Lakeshow1

        Why don’t he give laker fans a break, his crappy contract is crippling the Lakers chances at another ring.

        • Jeffrey Thompson

          I severely doubt that.  They had him for those championship years too.  It is a shame that he has not had a chance to play, but that has to do with him getting hurt and being bumped off the rotation.

  • Fdshjkf

    Props for Luke for admitting this. You dont see a player make these statements often.

    Now either play better or donate the rest of your salary!

  • LakerFan4Life1955

    We all know,  and Luke knows it too, that he is not a superstar, BUT he is a very intelligent player.  He does not have the natural ability of most of the NBA players, but he is a very court aware player and a student of the game,  His passing abilities are very good, because of the great fundamentals that he received in highs school and college. Is he past his prime, obviously the answer is yes.  Should he retire, only he and the Laker Management can make that decision.  I honestly feel that he can still help the team.  Maybe in a year or so he will retire and get picked up as an assistant coach, you have to know that he is one of the players that all the others players respect and will llsten to, even Koby and Fish respect him and will listen to what he has to say on any situation. I predict that he will someday be a head coach in the NBA, and that is why PJ was so fond of him. LakerFan4Life1955 

  • Bigred23ramlakrfan

    man you are the biggest rip off in the history of the nba! you in no way shape or form have contributed to any rings! they wasted  all that money on you luke!

  • Gwray26

    Why is everyone crapping on Luke….  I remember we all would call out his name in a deep voice as he drained a three pointer. At one point in time he was actually the #1 3point shooter on the Lakers. When you cut minutes and mess up the rotation, numbers drop. Give Luke a break. He was there if we needed him. That’s how champions win titles. They have good bench players who can start somewhere else, but know there role and play it.

    • Jeffrey Thompson

      Luke at one time looked like the White Scottie Pippen.  He had excellent court sense and amazing athleticism.  Similar to Pippen, he was able to facilitate the triangle offense–something that very few people have been able to do.

    • Oh wow hai

      Those were actually booooooos not Luuuuuuuuuke.

  • Lakeshow1

    Luke needs to retire if he wants to really feel his worth.

    • Jeffrey Thompson

      Good idea.  take the Money and Run


      That’s not gonna do it!  that still means that he gets to collect his millions for doing NOTHING!  The only way he’s gonna feel his worth is if he gives back all those millions and then “retire” from playing, but take on his new position as ball boy.  He’s got real experience at that… he rebounds and passes the ball out to his fellow teammates so that they can take the shot!  He’s benn doing that his whole career.

  • Scott Asai

    He should just be an assistant coach, so they can free up his salary to pursue someone better.