The Lakers’ woes aren’t letting up after another disappointing loss to the Heat on Wednesday night, and two NBA insiders have shed light on what’s happening in the locker room.
“Following their ninth loss in 12 games, the Los Angeles Lakers have hit a new nadir in their season, amplifying concerns about the direction of the season from both inside and outside the organization,” Shams Charania and Jovan Buha wrote.
“There’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room, six sources with direct knowledge of the situation say, raising questions about the head coach’s standing. The people spoke with The Athletic on condition of anonymity so that they could speak freely on the matter. Those sources have described that the disjointedness between the coach and team has stemmed from the extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments recently from Ham, leading to a fluctuating rhythm for several players across the roster.”
After LA’s 110-96 loss to Miami, LeBron James got changed in silence and in a rare sight, left the locker room without talking to the media.
The loss sucked the life out of everyone, including guard Austin Reaves, who said the team’s mood was “s***y.”
“We’re losing,” Reaves said. “Anytime you lose, the vibe should be off, you know? If I went in [the locker room] and the vibe wasn’t off after the rough stretch that we’ve had, then I’d be concerned. That’s really it. You know, I don’t expect for us to be happy with how we’ve played. So, until we figure that out, you know, the vibe should be off. We got to win games.”
The rising star went on the clarify that everyone at the franchise gets along.
“And to just go back to your question, when I say the vibe is off, it’s not like we don’t like each other. It’s we’re losing,” Reaves said. “We should be pissed off. We shouldn’t be happy after games with how we’re playing. But I don’t want to get that twisted on us not liking each other. Everybody in the locker room gets along. When the frustration of losing wears off a day or two later, it’s not like the vibe is off. The vibe is good being around one another.”
Despite multiple reports of players becoming disgruntled with Ham’s abrupt changes, the head coach continues to cite player unavailability as the reason behind the squad’s lack of connection on the court.
“I think the multiple [rotation players] are more impactful than if you lose one of your big dogs, you’re going to figure out how to try and manage without them,” Ham told reporters. “And when your key rotation players – this guy misses three or four. This guy misses three or four. And they’re happening one right after another, that’s what makes it difficult.”