While LeBron James may have attended the Lakers’ Summer League game in Las Vegas on Sunday to support his future teammates, there was a bigger reasoning behind his trip to the Thomas and Mack Center: his first meeting with Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
James met with Walton for the first time over the weekend, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported on Monday. James and Walton had only texted since James agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers earlier this month.
And apparently the meeting made a solid impression on Walton, too.
“He’s about the team,” Walton told ESPN. “He’s about doing things the right way, and he’s about winning. I can work with those qualities.”
Walton has plenty of experience with James, both on the court and as a coach in the league. Walton was actually selected in the same draft class as James back in 2003, and has been reaching out to former coaches and players since James agreed to the four-year, $153.3 million deal — including Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
So while it will definitely be a new challenge for Walton to coach the best basketball player in the world, it sounds like he’s doing his homework before the season starts.
And if he takes Lue’s advice, Walton and the Lakers should be just fine.
“I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin earlier this month ahead of his breakfast meeting with Walton. People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope.
“So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.”
More from Yahoo Sports:
• The Instagram account that pokes fun at the reality of Minor League life
• Of course LaVar Ball says he could’ve beat LeBron James one-on-one in his prime
• Ben McAdoo ‘at peace’ about decision to bench Eli Manning last year
• Poker player Tony Miles apologizes for ‘slow roll’ comment about champ John Cynn