NBA

LeBron James: Walton did all he could with Lakers

By Sports Desk November 16, 2019

LeBron James said former head coach Luke Walton did great under the circumstances at the Los Angeles Lakers prior to his exit following the 2018-19 season.

The Lakers and Walton agreed to mutually part ways in April after a tumultuous season, which saw Los Angeles miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive campaign.

An injury to James on Christmas Day derailed Walton and the Lakers, while persistent trade rumours had a negative impact on some of the young players as Los Angeles eyed a trade for Anthony Davis.

Prior to Walton's return to Los Angeles for the first time since leaving the Lakers as Kings coach, James told reporters on Friday: "I mean, throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had.

"I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on December 25th, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game. And then the injury happened and I'm out six-and-a-half weeks.

"I don't think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So, I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances."

Asked about James' comments, Walton said: "Um, I agree with LeBron. [There's] a longer answer and I've spent time reflecting on last season but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight's task and our game planning and rotations and things like that."

After a forgettable debut season with the Lakers following his arrival from the Cleveland Cavaliers – injury restricting James to just 55 games last term – the 34-year-old is flourishing alongside Davis in 2019-20.

Entering Friday's clash with the Kings, Lakers superstar James had been averaging 23.9 points, 11.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds.

"LeBron, he's one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest," Walton added. "So I'm sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he's going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They're playing incredibly well, their defence and offence starts with him. He looks really good."

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