The calendar is about to turn to February and the Los Angeles Lakers still look more like a lottery team than a playoff team. It makes no sense. Los Angeles has gotten mostly healthy seasons out of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, yet will enter the month of February with a 24-25 record.
The Lakers were viewed as one of the top contenders in the NBA entering the season and they have been anything but that. Last year there was an obvious scapegoat with Russell Westbrook. This year, the scapegoat presents a completely different problem.
Head coach Darvin Ham has become the person to blame, and rightfully so. Ham's lineups, rotations and his feel for the locker room have all been less than ideal. When a team this talented struggles this much, there is nobody else to look toward than the head coach.
LeBron has already sent subtle messages to Ham via the media and the NBA's all-time leading scorer is ramping up his passive-aggressive efforts. Following Tuesday night's loss to the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron had to thank reporters for cutting him off, as he was about to say something perhaps controversial. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that he likely was going to say something about the team's head coach.
That wasn't the only passive-aggressive message that LeBron sent, as hours after the game he posted a very telling hourglass emoji. There are several ways to interpret this but the most simple answer is the most likely: the Lakers are running out of time.
Darvin Ham is feeling the heat from LeBron James, Lakers fans
LeBron's post could also be deciphered that Ham is running out of time because, at this rate, it is hard to see why the Lakers would be so insistent on keeping him as the team's head coach. He has been objectively bad this season, it is okay to move on and try something new.
The only reason why the Lakers wouldn't move on from Ham is if the team is cheap and does not want to pay out the rest of Ham's deal and hire a new coach. Fans deserve more from the Lakers, and one would hope that a multi-billion dollar sports franchise wouldn't operate like a mom-and-pop shop.
Los Angeles has not wavered despite all of the pressure from the fanbase to move on from Ham. Now that LeBron is sending subtle messages (more than once) in the media, the front office may have no other choice than to find an alternative for Ham at head coach.
That or they can keep a second-year head coach who is obviously in over his head around and risk pushing LeBron James away. The choice seems rather obvious.