Of all the criticisms LeBron James has received throughout his NBA career, one that has gotten a lot of traction over the years has been his history with head coaches.
More specifically that he has had the tendency to clash with them, ultimately ending in the head coach losing their job.
With former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton being fired just one season after James joined, those criticisms reared their head once again. The Lakers coaching search did little to quell those concerns as they hired current head coach Frank Vogel, but only after reportedly agreeing with former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue.
With Jason Kidd (another reported James favorite) joining Vogel’s staff as the lead assistant, some believed it would only be a matter of time before the 34-year-old pushed Vogel out. But Vogel isn’t paying attention to any of those concerns and had nothing but praise for the way James has led the Lakers under his tenure, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic:
“Whatever the history is (between him and James), LeBron has been a leader,” Vogel told The Athletic recently of James, who is averaging 25.2 points, a league-leading 10.8 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals. “To me, the best leaders are the ones that follow the lead of the coach. Forgetting the history and all that, he’s been great since I’ve been here. I’ve tried to present a vision of a style of play that makes sense, that fits our personnel, and he has kind of gotten behind that.”
So far, Vogel has been more than up to the task, tightening up the team’s defense as Los Angeles has run out to a 17-2 start. James has been playing at an MVP level so far this season and he and Vogel certainly seem to be on the same page.
The concerns about James’ history with head coaches aren’t without reason. He reportedly tried to get Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra fired and also reportedly pushed hard for the Cavaliers to get rid of head coach David Blatt in favor of Lue.
With Walton only lasting that lone season after showing promise in his first two seasons with the Lakers, it wasn’t out of the question to see James pushing for Vogel’s ouster if he struggled.
Thankfully for all parties, Vogel has been great so far with the Lakers and as long as the team continues to win, these worries should fade away.