Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton hasn’t read Ric Bucher’s piece on why NBA stars don’t want to join up with LeBron James, but he disagrees with its premise. When asked about the article Wednesday, Walton couldn’t understand why players would feel that way.
The article asked why recent stars who were available — like Paul George and Jimmy Butler — passed on the opportunity to join James in Los Angeles. Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the season provided a few eye-opening quotes, saying the atmosphere around James discourages players from wanting to join him.
Walton didn’t directly address those comments, but questioned why any player would turn down the chance to play with James, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I haven’t read the article, so I can’t comment on that, but what you’re asking me, to me the question is: Why would you not want to play with LeBron?” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s a winner and he’s an incredible player and he’s unselfish.”
Walton’s take will be tested during the offseason. The Lakers have plenty of cap space, and are expected to pursue another star to play with James. Kawhi Leonard and Butler will be available, but neither has expressed interest in joining James yet.
Even with just one star, the Lakers have done pretty well this season. James and company have gotten the team out to a 14-9 start. If James can work his magic and take the Lakers on a deep postseason run, it shouldn’t be all that hard to convince another star to be the missing piece once the offseason begins.
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