Luke Walton encouraged by meeting with LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton had his first in-person interaction with LeBron James over the weekend. And not surprisingly Walton was left impressed and encouraged by the meeting.
Walton and James did exchange some text messages before their encounter at the Lakers’ Summer League game on Sunday in Las Vegas. And first impressions on a personal level certainly were favorable on Walton’s behalf.
“He’s about the team. He’s about doing things the right way, and he’s about winning,” Walton told ESPN of James. “I can work with those qualities.”
James signed a four-year, $153 million deal to join the Lakers, a team loaded with youth and potential but arguably lacking in any semblance of a championship pedigree, at least with the current incarnation of the roster.
With that said, the addition of James already has boosted the Lakers’ odds of winning a title as early as the 2018-19 season. Although James undoubtedly faces long odds of elevating the Lakers as legitimate championship contenders next season.
Walton nevertheless has been putting in the work behind the scenes to better prepare himself to coaching James, which presents a unique challenge given the superstar’s unparalleled level of preparedness when it comes to all facets of the game.
Walton, entering his third season as Lakers head coach, has reached out to both Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, the latter of which also enjoyed a chance encounter with James over the weekend.
“He told me, ‘I have my pen and paper out already. Let’s hear it,'” Lue said of his conversation with Walton last week.