LeBron James is arguably the greatest NBA basketball player of all time. He has been a part of some of the greatest teams in the league's history and is among the winningest individuals that the association has ever seen. Any way that you look at it, the King has established a positive legacy of greatness and the Los Angeles Lakers are lucky to be part of that legacy.
Look past all of the incredible accomplishments that have set James apart, and you will see that he has also developed a bit of a toxic reputation amongst his colleagues. There have been numerous accounts of him publicly slandering his teammates, with the most recent case occurring right at the start of the new year.
Beyond his fellow companions on the court, he has also built a reputation for being difficult to coach. With James being a perfectionist, it is not hard to link that label to his name. Throughout the course of his 20 NBA seasons, 9 coaches have tried their hand at appeasing the King: Paul Silas, Brendan Malone, Mike Brown, Erik Spoelstra, David Blatt, Ty Lue, Luke Walton, Frank Vogel and now Darvin Ham.
Of those 9 gentlemen, 6 were relieved of their duties prior to the end of their contract. With the way that things have been going lately in Los Angeles, it would come as a shock to no one if that number increased to 7 in the foreseeable future.
Darvin Ham might be the next LeBron James coaching victim if the Lakers don't turn it around
After the team's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at home on January 5th, even Darvin Ham himself sounded like a man admitting his own personal defeat. His Lakers have completely collapsed after capturing the In-Season tournament crown back in early December. Since beating the Pacers in the IST championship game, the purple and gold have strung together an atrocious 3-10 stretch culminated by the embarrassing loss to Memphis.
This midseason meltdown has maneuvered the team outside of the playoff picture, as they currently sit 1/2 game behind Pacific Division rival Golden State for the final Play-In spot. With no signs of letting up anytime soon, many fans assume LeBron will be back in the NBA for his age-40 season in 2024-2025.
However, if the Lakers are unable to conjure together a competent championship chase in the second half of the season they could quite feasibly lose LBJ to another team (AKA the team that drafts Bronny) in the offseason.
Surely Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss would like to keep the King in the city of angels, so the next month of this season will be the most important stretch for all parties involved. The role players will need to elevate their games to further support LeBron and Anthony Davis.
If they cannot, the front office will almost certainly ship at least a few of them out of town. More importantly, Darvin Ham will need to showcase an ability to get things back on track similar to the way that he did a season ago. If he cannot replicate that turnaround, he will most likely find himself in the unemployment line in the not-so-distant future.