When his career is over, Luke Walton has a pretty decent idea what he is going to do in his next life. But the way his back is feeling these days, he believes he can shelve all the thoughts of retirement for a while.

Walton’s back feels so good, he thinks he can play in the NBA another couple of seasons. And to the surprise of both Walton and the Cavs, this relationship could extend beyond this season.

Walton was a money dump when the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the Cavs at the deadline last season. The Lakers were thrilled to get out from under the $6 million owed him for this season, and most expected he would sit on the end of the Cavs bench and collect a check before drifting off into retirement. Even Walton thought that’s how it might go.

“With the amount of back pain I’ve had the previous four or five years, I was going to give it everything I had this year, and if my back acted up, I was going to retire,” Walton said. “Now that my back has been feeling much better, I’m enjoying this.”

Walton conceded this unlikely pairing of a West Coast guy and a blustery Midwestern town has worked out better than he ever expected. His back and his fit with the Cavs have surprised him.

“Shocked the hell out of me, too,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said.

There were rumors during training camp the Cavs could buy out the final year on Walton’s deal and send him on his way. But Scott liked what he saw in camp, liked the way Walton was moving and surprised everyone when Walton debuted with the Cavs’ second unit on opening night. He has remained there much of the season.