Frustrated with losing, team roles and the uncertainty that next summer holds for the franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers held a team meeting to air out their issues.
The Lakers (11-22), who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight entering Friday’s game against the Clippers, held the “heart-to-heart” meeting in place of practice on Thursday.
I don’t think you work through it in one day, but I think we put it out there about how each guy was feeling about how they play on the basketball floor, about how they’re feeling about the business of the organization, how they want to be played or anything of that nature.
Following a lackluster 95-92 loss to Portland at home on Saturday, head coach Luke Walton said he noticed players “pouting” on the bench, and center Andrew Bogut said “guys are frustrated.” With team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka operating the team with an eye toward next summer’s free agency and beyond, some of the current Lakers on the roster are playing under a cloud of uncertainty regarding their futures.
Also, Walton has often coached games by feel, and that has sometimes kept rotation regulars playing fewer minutes than they would like.
Randle came into the season unhappy with his role coming off the bench, but he still played inspired and motivated, becoming one of the Lakers’ key players.
While he has finished several games in place of Brook Lopez before the starting center injured his ankle, Randle has seen his minutes fluctuate recently based on game flow and Walton looking to send his power forward a message.
And some nights when he doesn’t play big minutes, it’s because other guys are rolling, and some nights it’s because I don’t believe he is playing up to the standard that he set for himself.
After recently going through the most difficult four-game stretch the NBA has seen in three seasons (at Cleveland, against Golden State, at Houston and at Golden State), the Lakers follow Friday’s game against the Clippers by playing at Houston and Minnesota before returning home to face Oklahoma City.