The Lakers kicked off January — a month they had long looked at as the chance to get right — by hitting perhaps the lowest point of the season. Faced off against a Heat side without Jimmy Butler, the Lakers played from behind the whole night and lost without much of a fight in the end.
Now, in the hours after the game, things are really starting to turn and perhaps the extent of how bad it is behind the scenes is coming out. A report from both Jovan Buha and Shams Charania of The Athletic on Thursday morning described a “deepening disconnect” between coach and players.
There’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room, six sources with direct knowledge of the situation say, raising questions about the head coach’s standing. The people spoke with The Athletic on condition of anonymity so that they could speak freely on the matter. Those sources have described that the disjointedness between the coach and team has stemmed from the extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments recently from Ham, leading to a fluctuating rhythm for several players across the roster.
While the shift in lineups has been at least partially a result of injuries, it’s more how the lineups have changed that likely has deepened that disconnect. At one stage just prior to Christmas, the team’s third, fourth and fifth highest-paid players in Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura all were coming off the bench despite being healthy.
It was short-lived as, in Wednesday’s loss, Russell and Rui were both out injured and Reaves was starting. That, though, shows both the challenges the team has faced with injury and the degree to which things have changed with the team this season, whether through forced changes or voluntarily.
Injuries can only be cited so much as a cause for the Lakers’ issues and this is clearly the point in which that excuse probably isn’t going to fly anymore. The Lakers are going to have games at home to try to turn this around, starting with Memphis on Friday before the Clippers on Sunday, but the clock is ticking louder and louder now.
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