With the Los Angeles Lakers on a fairly predictable slow start at 3-5, some fault lines among the team’s decision-makers are already emerging.
Head coach Luke Walton reportedly drew an admonishment from team president Magic Johnson in a meeting Tuesday for the team’s stumble out of the gate. This, of course, occurs in the context of a LeBron James team, so naturally James is going to have some sway over the team’s direction.
When asked about the reported conflict, however, James opted to steer clear from taking a side in either direction.
LeBron James says he only cares about Lakers winning
“It doesn’t bother me at all because I don’t pay attention to it, I don’t listen to it,” James said Saturday in advance of the Lakers’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers, when asked about the noise surrounding his team.
“It actually never even gets to me really, so it’s not a big deal for us,” James continued. “We need to figure out how we can string together some great games or even good games and bring our win total from where it is now. Because that’s the business we’re in. That’s the only thing we want to do. We want to be as good a team as we can be and win ballgames.”
James has yet to publicly express frustration about the Lakers’ coaching in his first season with the team, though there is reportedly “discontent” among some Lakers veterans over Walton’s lineup decisions, per ESPN. It is unknown if James is a part of that group.
Does LeBron James hold Luke Walton’s fate in his hands?
James was widely seen as responsible for the ouster of two different head coaches while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Mike Brown and David Blatt, and reportedly tried to do it with Erik Spoelstra in Miami as well by trying to urge Pat Riley to come out of retirement.
If James ends up being similarly disgruntled with Walton, it’s hard to see Johnson pushing back on the superstar’s demands.
The Lakers still have plenty of time to right the ship this season, and many of their players are still young and developing. James and the rest of the team preached patience throughout the offseason, but we might already be seeing signals that Walton’s Lakers tenure could be in the doubt if the Lakers don’t like their direction with the coach.
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