LeBron James has yet to meet with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton since joining the team earlier this week, according to recent reports about the team.
Yahoo Sports analyst Jordan Schultz reported the news on Twitter Wednesday. According to an unnamed Schultz source, James didn’t speak to the current Lakers coach when being recruited by the team or after joining.
“A source close to #LeBron tells me that Bron had zero contact w/ #Lakers head coach Luke Walton throughout the Lakers’ entire recruitment process. ‘LeBron never met Luke at all,'” Schultz tweeted. “… They still have not met. Walton will be James’ seventh full-time NBA head coach.”
Last season, rumors swirled about Lakers players being uninterested in playing for the Walton when the team was on a losing streak. In an interview with ESPN earlier this year LaVar Ball, the father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, said he did not believe the players enjoyed being coached by Walton.
However, it does not seem the head coach’s job security is in question since Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has publicly expressed her support for Walton on multiple occasions. During a tough stretch in December, Buss thanked Lakers supporters while expressing her support for the coach with a Twitter hashtag, “#InLukeWeTrust.”
A source close to #LeBron tells me that Bron had zero contact w/#Lakers head coach Luke Walton throughout the Lakers’ entire recruitment process. “LeBron never met Luke at all,” source says — and they still have not met. Walton will be James’ seventh full-time NBA head coach.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 4, 2018
Walton has previously expressed his appreciation for the support that he has received from the Lakers’ front office which also includes president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.
“They’ve been supportive. They obviously understand where we’re at as a team and what we’re trying to do and what our big picture is,” he said in a previous NBC report. “When you’ve got a young team that’s battling, fighting and playing well and gets some injuries and you get into the dog days of the NBA season. They’re both fully aware of what that’s like.”
While James has yet to meet with his new coach, he has previously spoken about his respect for Walton in a post-game interview last season. After the rebuilding Lakers beat James’ then Cleveland Cavaliers in a game last March, the team’s newest star spoke about the improvement that he has seen since Walton was an assistant and interim head coach for the Golden State Warriors from 2014 to 2016.
“Since Luke took over, they’ve improved every single season,” James previously said. “He’s just tried to implement that ball-movement, that body-movement when he was in Golden State.”