The Los Angeles Lakers won the LeBron James sweepstakes in the first day of free agency, but The King has yet to get in contact with head coach Luke Walton, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports.
A source close to #LeBron tells me that Bron had zero contact w/#Lakers head coach Luke Walton throughout the Lakers’ entire recruitment process. “LeBron never met Luke at all,” source says — and they still have not met. Walton will be James’ seventh full-time NBA head coach.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 4, 2018
This isn't to suggest that LeBron and Walton won't get along, but it's surprising that the Lakers head coach didn't play part in the recruiting process. Nonetheless, James wouldn't have joined a team if he had a problem with the coach, so you can only read so much into this.
The 38-year-old Walton played nine seasons with the Lakers and was part of their 2009 and 2010 NBA Championship teams. After his playing career, Walton was hired as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. But with head coach Steve Kerr taking time away to rehab his back during the 2015-16 season, Walton coached for 43 games and helped the Warriors set an NBA record with 73 regular season wins.
After the Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, Walton was hired as the new head coach of the Lakers. Walton has compiled a record of 61-103 through his first two years as the Lakers coach, but improvement is on the horizon following the signing of James.
As Schultz noted, Walton will be the seventh head coach for James. In his four years with the Heat, James was coached by Erik Spoelstra, but he had five different bosses while in Cleveland.
Paul Silas and Brendan Malone had short stints as James' head coach, and Mike Brown would take over and rack up 272 wins while leading Cleveland to the 2007 NBA Finals. However, he was fired after the 2009-10 season, which would be LeBron's last in his first tenure as a Cavalier.
David Blatt coached Cleveland to the NBA Finals in 2015, but he was fired in the midst of the following season and replaced by Tyronn Lue, who has held down the fort since. Now, it's up to LeBron to find the right working relationship with coach Walton, whom he has yet to contact.