“Lakers–Going to Happen To Them?”
They got what they wanted, but maybe they got more than they bargained for.
They being the LA Lakers. What they got, LeBron James.
What might happen next, a palace revolt inside the Lakers front office.
I asked the question opening night of the NBA season, whose team would it wind up being this year, the superstar player or the young on the bench coach?
If you connect the dots, what might happen in Los Angeles sure seems like what happened in Cleveland and nearly happened in Miami.
The rumors are spreading everywhere that there is a move afoot to remove Luke Walton as coach of the Lakers, as the team wobbles thru an up and down NBA season.
A season that started slowly, came together, then was derailed by a series of injuries to the young players, Kyle Kozma, Lonzo Ball, and now for nearly a month, LeBron James himself.
The Lakers haven’t come together as a team yet, because their team has not been on the floor much together.
But now well placed sources have told ESPN that King James group, his agent, his marketing people, are dropping hints that LeBron wants the coach out.
Earlier in the season, after a slow start, an impatient Magic Johnson had a meeting with Walton to talk about the team, the player rotation, the lack of defense etc. At that point, owner Jeannie Buss stepped in to half the media speculation, Walton’s job was not in jeopardy.
But now, this week, there has been no public backing of Walton, as the rumors spread like a fast moving brushfire.
You would say it’s much-ado-about nothing, except for the history of where King James as been, and what happened in his past.
The man, who led the Miami Heat and then his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to NBA rings, has also been in the middle of turmoil with his former teams.
The first tour of duty in Cleveland ended with playoff failures and a rift between the player and his stoic head coach, Mike Brown. James left as a free agent and Brown lost his job. The relationship with owner Dan Gilbert became strained, then downright bitter.
On to Miami, where another slow start led to a rift between the big money free agent and the young head coach Erik Spoelstra. What never happened was the coaches ouster, because of the strong willed GM-Pat Riley. They won a ring in South Beach, when Riley put together King James with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
The return to Cleveland was with an open arms welcome. But when things didn’t go well, coaches got fired, and everyone pointed fingers at you know who.
Dave Blatt was ousted in a stunning move. GM-Dave Griffin disappeared. Tyrone Lue, even after the Cavaliers won a ring, didn’t survive, nor did replacement Larry Drew.
So now he is in LA, and less than 3-months into the mission, the head coach and the big money free agent, seem to be at odds again.
Oh LeBron won’t say anything, but he has people around him to create the pressure points, and spread the rumors.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, the Lakers braintrust, face a giant challenge. Do what the star player wants, or stay the course, and try to make the team grow? Wait to add another piece, either in free agency, one Kevin Durant, or via trade, maybe Anthony Davis?
Superstar or Coach-Killer? Great player or selfish millionaire?
You cannot ignore where LeBron James has been in the past, wins, and what’s happened also in the past, coaching firings.
Whose team is it? LeBron’s or Luke’s? We find out soon.
If you don’t learn from history, it repeats itself. Might just happen in LA, like it happened in Cleveland and Miami.