The Lakers have lost 7-of-8 and have been bottom 10 in the NBA in both offense and defense. The Lakers team that had shown grit pushing the Warriors to overtime (twice) and beating teams such as the Sixers has faded. Injuries have played a role in the slide, but both Andrew Bogut and coach Luke Walton said the distraction of trade rumors swirling around the team — that Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle could be moved to clear cap space for next summer — are distracting the team.
All that led to a team meeting on Thursday instead of practice, where on and off-the-court issues were discussed. From Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.
The Lakers held a team meeting Thursday, where players were free to air their grievances about the state of the team, including “the business of the organization,” said Brandon Ingram.
“Hopefully we think about what we said to each other,” Ingram said. “What we said to the coaches and that the coaches have listened to what we said. Hopefully we can take it into practice, into games and just get better.”
Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma characterized the meeting as a “heart-to-heart” and that the Lakers were “just trying to get back on the same page.”
A lot of young players struggle when their names first come up in trade rumors — these are people and trades uproot their lives and shake up what they have established. And they have no control over it.
That said, it’s also life in the NBA. Veteran players have learned to adjust. The young Lakers clearly have not.
We’ll see if this meeting has any impact, traditionally they do not (or if there is a bump, it is very short-lived).