NBA Rumors: Charles Barkley Explains Why Luke Walton Will Struggle Coaching LeBron James Next Season

Harry HowGetty Images

NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley is one of the few people who’s not in favor of LeBron James’ decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent free agency. Barkley believes James should have stayed with his hometown team, Cleveland Cavaliers, and said that signing with the purple and gold was a “business decision.”

The acquisition of LeBron James is expected to finally end the Lakers’ playoff drought. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, panelists predicted the Lakers to finish as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference with a 46-36 win-loss record. However, with half of their roster consisting of new faces, the Lakers should work hard in training camp to show a good chemistry next season.

In an interview with Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, as reported by Lakers Nation, Charles Barkley thinks Luke Walton will have a hard time coaching LeBron James and the Lakers because of their roster’s split identity.

“That’s an impossible scenario for Luke,” Barkley said. “He’s got LeBron who is going to do things his way. He’s got those young kids who are probably in awe of LeBron. He’s got those older guys who are going to try to seek attention. I don’t think Lance and Rondo are going there to be the ninth or 10th guys on the bench and be quiet all year. They’re going to want touches.”

After successfully acquiring LeBron James, the Lakers earned plenty of criticisms for signing four role players — JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley — whose fit with their best player remains a big question mark. Like James, Rondo and Stephenson are ball-dominant players.

Though they can ease the load on LeBron’s shoulders in terms of playmaking, both veterans don’t have a good reputation shooting from beyond the arc. Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton should figure out how their veteran players and young core can make themselves fit playing alongside James.

The upcoming 2018-19 NBA season will undeniably be a big challenge for Luke Walton as the Lakers head coach since it will be the first season that they have a legitimate NBA superstar on their roster. However, Walton is already aware of the tough task he is about to face. When the Lakers signed James, Walton had meetings and asked for advice from LeBron’s former coaches like Erik Spoelstra and Tyronn Lue. Walton’s performance guiding the new-look Lakers is expected to determine his coaching future in Los Angeles.