From the moment LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, the future of then-head coach Luke Walton came into question.
Walton would make it through the 2018-19 NBA season before parting ways with the organization, but there were reports that James’ camp — including agent Rich Paul — wanted Walton gone.
They did get their wish as Walton is now the Sacramento Kings head coach and the Lakers have hired former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel to take his place. Early reports state that Vogel has the respect of James due to his time with the Pacers, James’ biggest Eastern Conference rivals.
Now, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, Paul disliked Walton as the Lakers head coach so much that he even complained to NBA commissioner Adam Silver about him:
In November, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Maverick Carter, LeBron’s longtime business partner, met for lunch. James’ agent, Rich Paul, was seated at a nearby table, and at one point, approached Silver to complain about Walton, multiple sources familiar with the interaction told ESPN. Paul said he didn’t believe Walton was the right coach for the Lakers. Silver shrugged off the remark and asked whom Paul thought would be the right coach. Paul suggested Tyronn Lue.
A player’s camp being dissatisfied with a head coach is nothing new, but speaking about it to the commissioner is pretty odd considering there is nothing that Silver could do about the situation. While Paul denied the report, Silver later confirmed the conversation between the two, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN:
“He was in the same restaurant,” Silver said. “There were two people sitting there. He sat down for a second, and I think he said something along the lines that ‘Luke Walton is not the right guy to coach LeBron.’
“My reaction was to shrug my shoulders and maybe say, ‘Well, who do you think is the right guy to coach?’ And he mentioned a name and that was that. I think as commissioner, I don’t want to shut people off who have a point of view.”
When it comes to the Lakers, Paul has seemingly had an impact, though not necessarily a positive one. Reports are always flying and if Paul is at the center of that — regarding players or head coaches — it can hurt the chemistry and cohesion of a team.
Nonetheless, Paul isn’t going anywhere as James’ agent so if he continues to be dissatisfied with things in Los Angeles, he could very well make it known once again.