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Lakers Coach Frank Vogel Responds to LeBron James ‘Noise’


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LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Frank Vogel.

LeBron James causes quite a commotion with his comments over the All-Star break, although it’s been business as usual for the Los Angeles Lakers, who returned to practice on Thursday.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel spoke out on the comments from his future Hall of Famer, which included James leaving the “door open” on a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the 18-time All-Star being adamant that he would finish his career playing with his son, regardless of team.

“I learned to let the noise be noise and focus on what’s in front of me, which is really the next game or my family during the break,” Vogel said with a grin while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

When asked if the team addressed the comments, Vogel responded with a swift, “No,” adding that there was no awkwardness between James and the rest of the squad.


James Making Power Play With Comments


Frank Vogel is committed to the stretch run and is focused on one game at a time | Lakers PracticeSubscribe for the latest Lakers’ content: youtube.com/channel/UC8CSt-oVqy8pUAoKSApTxQw Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/lakers Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/lakers/ Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Lakers Get the Lakers app: nba.com/lakers/multimedia…2022-02-24T23:00:44Z

Regardless of what the sides say publicly, there appears to be tension between James, his agency Klutch, and the Lakers. And with James being the NBA’s largest star, he usually gets what he wants. The comments over the weekend — and even prior to that — are all in part of a larger scheme, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The longtime NBA insider believes James is setting up the Lakers to make a big move this summer.

“What James is doing is likely aimed at one primary goal: Force the Lakers into major action this summer,” Windhorst wrote. “He tried to do it nicely and now he’s doing it harshly.”

James is under contract with the Lakers until after the 2022-23 season, so he can’t just leave LA in the dust. As Windhorst points out, the Lakers will have another first-round pick to play with on the trade market, leaving them to choose between James or mortgaging their future for another run at a title with its current core.

While things haven’t gone as planned for the Lakers — who are 27-31 and battling for a playoff spot — James is still playing at an MVP level, averaging 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game this season.


Lakers Looking to Make Push Without Anthony Davis

The Lakers need a strong surge down the stretch but it won’t be easy. Not only do they have the toughest strength of schedule, but they will also have to do it with Anthony Davis. The Lakers star big man was diagnosed with a foot sprain.

“We have a unique challenge in that we lost Anthony Davis before the All-Star break,” Vogel said. “Our conversations are really more about who we want to be and the style of play and identity we want to have during this stretch.”

The time off should have the Lakers refocused, particularly Russell Westbrook, who has had a tough run during his first year in purple and gold. But with the trade deadline now in the past, Westbrook has looked better.

“I don’t know if it’s just a trade deadline shift with him. There’s ups and downs throughout the season and I think what we saw tonight was he has a great care factor. He wants this thing to work at the highest level,” Vogel said of his former MVP guard. “He believes like we all do that we have a chance to do something special and the way he played the last two games, in particular, was really good for us and strengthens our belief.”

Westbrook is also confident the Lakers can turn it around.

“I feel super confident about our group,” Westbrook said.

The Lakers return to action on Friday against the Clippers.

 



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