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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Report: LeBron James was unhappy with 1 of Darvin Ham’s strategies

LeBron James in a jersey

Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers executives felt there were significant issues with the team under Darvin Ham this season, which is why the head coach was fired earlier this week. For LeBron James, one of those issues apparently came about very early in the year.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wrote on Saturday that Ham wanted to restrict LeBron’s minutes at the start of the season, which was not that crazy of a plan for a player who was about to turn 39. However, Shelburne reports that James “bristled at the idea” and that it was scrapped a few games into the season.

Obviously, LeBron’s relationship with Ham did not sour because the coach wanted to give his best player more rest. It may not have soured at all, in fact, though Shelburne also noted that James, Anthony Davis and other players “barely bothered to conceal criticisms” of Ham’s X’s and O’s strategies both publicly and privately throughout the season.

The most animated we saw LeBron in venting his frustrations toward Ham was in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. James felt Ham should have challenged a call and went ballistic when the coach chose not to (video here).

Ham went 90-74 record in two seasons with the Lakers. He led the team to the Western Conference Finals last year, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Nuggets. They then lost to Denver in five games in the opening round this year.

Considering the roster shortcomings in L.A., the results under Ham were not all that bad. Had LeBron and others fought for him to stay, Ham almost certainly would have kept his job.

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