In Tyronn Lue, LeBron James probably saw the coach who helped him win a title and get to three other NBA Finals. He saw a coach he’d been through it all with, and from that adversity, Lue earned James’ utmost respect. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that James might not have been thrilled with the Los Angeles Lakers making borderline offensive offers to Lue, trying to force on him assistant coaches he would not otherwise consider before Lue finally backed away from the negotiating table, all while the Lakers tried to spin it all as if Lue just wasn’t a good fit after all.
The Lakers have since found Lue’s pseudo replacement (Frank Vogel, whom Lue reportedly wanted to bring on as an assistant coach) and, per James’ Instagram “likes,” he’s apparently okay outwardly with the decision. That doesn’t mean, however, that James enjoyed the route by which they arrived on Vogel, according to Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
James was taken aback by how the Lue negotiations broke down, a league source told ESPN, but James “liked” several Instagram posts touting the Vogel/Kidd hires over the weekend. It has been James’ only public endorsement of the team’s recent hires.
It was interesting over the weekend to see James’ Instagram likes held up as his official statement on everything going on currently. Without getting into the nuances of social media, James showed about as much support for the Lakers’ hire as I would a Twitter conversation I’m just happy is over.
James liking a couple posts wasn’t even as strong a statement as his video calling out ESPN for their reporting on alleged growing distrust between him and the Lakers. No, this was him clicking a button and moving on. But hey, if you’re looking to have your hopes confirmed, I guess even the slightest sign will do.
Vogel has his work cut out for him. The Lakers reportedly only gave him a three-year deal, meaning he will start next season (if he makes it there) in basically the exact same situation Luke Walton had to work with last year. He likely doesn’t have full buy-in from James (at least not yet, Instagram likes notwithstanding) and had an assistant coach forced on him in Jason Kidd, who James by all accounts seems to hold in higher regard AND also has a history of political maneuvering.
We’ll see how things go whenever the Lakers officially make their announcement on Vogel (and hopefully set up their first press conference since any of this madness started). One thing’s for sure though, we’re apparently supposed to keep an eye out for whether or not James “likes” the tweet.