It must be a day of the week that ends in “y”, because TMZ is pestering celebrities at the airport. Normally this pseudo-guerilla “journalism” would not be the sort of fodder we’d use on a website that primarily covers the Los Angeles Lakers, but when head coach Luke Walton is asked about his relationship with LeBron James, things change.
And if Walton had forgotten the type of explosive, pressure-cooker of a situation he’d briefly gotten a respite from during his All-Star Break, TMZ was there when he returned to L.A. to remind him what he was walking back into — in this case, a whole lot of questions about James, and by extension, his future as Lakers head coach (via TMZ Sports):
TMZ: There are reports that you’re not getting along with LeBron
Walton: “I don’t know anything about that.”
TMZ: Is it true?
Walton: “LeBron and I get along just fine.”
Well, there you have it. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here (despite reports to the contrary).
But no, in all seriousness, this is exactly what you would expect Walton to say. And there is no reason to doubt him, given that he and James getting along “just fine” is hardly an incredibly high bar to clear. I’m not going to sit here and claim to have great insight into James and Walton’s relationship, but it appears clear when reading between the lines that they get along well enough to work together, but are hardly paired at the hip or anything.
That’s just fine, for now. Whether Walton and James have a tremendous working relationship or not — or whether it will even continue much longer — are all obviously topics that are up for debate, and the answers to those questions will be borne out this offseason. No matter what, though, the Lakers need Walton and James to coexist for now, and help push the Lakers up to another level as they desperately fight for a playoff spot.
And despite the team’s 3-8 skid heading into the All-Star Break, Walton remains confident that the postseason is in sight.
“We’ve got some work to do, but we can do it,” Walton told TMZ.
Walton was also asked how he would sum up the season so far (“Good. We’ve had a lot of injuries, but we’ll be all right”) and if the Anthony Davis trade rumors affected the locker room (“You’d have to ask them. It didn’t affect me”). And then he was gone, off to get a few more hours away from all the speculation about his seemingly tenuous job security and “fine” relationship with his star player.
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