When LeBron James decided to head for the gold coast, there were high expectations for the Lakers coming into this season. It only takes a look at the Lakers’ subpar record and performance this season for one to know that there is tension gripping the franchise. Even with James sidelined, it is a consensus around the league that the Lakers are underachieving.
According to ESPN’s Jackie McMullan, LeBron James’s camp would prefer for the Lakers to move on from head coach Luke Walton. It is unclear what the exact feelings of James himself are or what exactly the reason is behind wanting Walton gone. Despite never publicly feuding with any, James has not exactly been best friends with coaches in the past, highlighted by an incident where he yelled at former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue last season in a game against the Trailblazers.
Tension in a locker room is not necessarily cause for concern, as it is normal when a group of high-ego players and coaches try to work together. However, it can become a cancer quickly when a team is not winning on a consistent basis. The point that locker room drama begins to be a big concern is when it materializes itself on the court. When James returns to the court, it will be certain that fans are watching intently to see if the star forward and the head coach can work together to build a winning formula.
Sports bettors will need to follow this situation, as a Lakers team with a returning LeBron James will be a tempting pick against any team. However, it will remain to be seen whether tension between him and his head coach will affect his minutes or his performance. If it does, it will be tough to see picking the Lakers against the Western Conference elite as anything more than a longshot.
In the latest odds to win the NBA Finals, the Lakers were listed at +1800, which was the third best in the Western Conference. Many project the Lakers to fall well below that in the next updated betting odds.