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LeBron James says his relationship with Luke Walton is ‘off to a good start’

Two of the faces of the Lakers — LeBron James and Luke Walton — are getting along, a trend that will have to continue moving forward.

Los Angeles Lakers Practice Session Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Coaching in the NBA remains one of the absolute market inefficiencies. If a team can find a voice that remains the constant while the players they speak to vary, they set themselves up for success for years to come. The Los Angeles Lakers believe they found that guy in Luke Walton, but common sense also dictates that will depend heavily on how he gets along with LeBron James.

So far, so good, according to the team’s biggest free agent signing since Shaquille O’Neal.

“I mean I think it’s a new relationship,” James told reporters Saturday after practice. “It would be the same as if you met someone and you started a new relationship in a week. What would be your relationship with someone if you had a relationship with them for a week? You’d be like ‘ah, I’m still learning them.’

“But it’s off to a good start, I will say.”

James’ theme of preaching patience has been one of the better trends to come out of training camp thus far. Even if things weren’t coming along so smoothly, it’s doubtful James would make that known, but if we’re to take him at his word, he’s saying exactly what fans should want to hear.

This is all going to be a process — an absolutely crucial one.

As much attention as has been paid to free agent signings like Rajon Rondo or James himself, the Lakers’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma — or even potential signings that might happen the next few offseasons — one could argue that Walton remains at or near the top of key components of the organization.

The case for why this is so crucial: Frankly, the Lakers don’t have time to cycle through coaches.

Yes, James signed to play in Los Angeles for a minimum of three years and could very well stay beyond that, but that commitment doesn’t mean the Lakers can take their sweet time in developing their culture. Walton kind of needs to work out, and if he doesn’t, that would be a huge blow to what this franchise is capable of while James is in its employ.

By all accounts, Walton is pretty easy to get along with. How well he continues to do so with James is very much something worth keeping a close eye on.

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