LeBron James has garnered somewhat of a reputation during his Hall of Fame career as a ‘coach killer.’
Despite the Los Angeles Lakers being James’ fourth team, head coach Frank Vogel will be his eighth one. James most notably gained this reputation when then-Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt was replaced by assistant coach Tyronn Lue during his second stint.
While James never vocalized any issues he had with head coach Luke Walton in his first season with the Lakers, it’s unlikely that he approved of the game plan. As is the case with one of the greatest players of all time, it’s probable that James was at the least informed of these head coaching changes before they happened.
Normally, this could be something that puts a head coach on notice. However, Vogel isn’t looking at the past relationships between James and his head coaches. Instead, he’s looking to ‘do something special’ with him, according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:
I only know how he’s been with me. That’s the only measuring stick I’m going to use. I’m not going to look at how it’s been with his past coaches. That really doesn’t concern me. I want to shape my own opinion of him as a person and one of the greatest ever. I’m going to take my approach and work together with him to hopefully do something special.
Vogel is coming into this player and head coach relationship with the right mindset. How James has been with past head coaches is irrelevant at this stage since he is entering his 17th season and likely isn’t looking to rock the boat as he tries for one last championship before his age finally starts to set in.
In addition, this is one of the most talented rosters of James’ career, meaning Vogel’s job is simply to put everyone in the best position to succeed. That shouldn’t be incredibly difficult considering the team was built for everyone to have unique skill sets that they bring to the table.
For now, it seems like the James-Vogel relationship is a good one. James was notably present at Vogel’s introductory press conference, and the two have since seemingly stayed on the right foot.
Once the 2019-20 NBA season starts, the success of the team will likely determine where the relationship with Vogel goes.