Julius Randle earns rare start in wake of team meeting
By Bill Oram
EL SEGUNDO – With players grousing about playing time and the offseason strategy seeping into the locker room, the Lakers on Thursday canceled practice and instead gathered for an airing of grievances.
Kyle Kuzma called it a “heart-to-heart,” while second-year forward Brandon Ingram said the team meeting was the first of his kind since being drafted two summers ago.
“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.”
Coach Luke Walton downplayed the significance of the impromptu summit, saying “every team has issues” and “this is nothing new in sports and I think every athlete knows that.”
Last week veteran center Andrew Bogut revealed following a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers that he would be“lying to say that there are guys that are not frustrated on this team.”
Plans to chase two maximum-level free agents next summer have not been lost on the players who would need to depart to clear the way for LeBron James and Paul George. Julius Randle, before being thrust into a starting role Friday, had watched his minutes plummet in recent weeks.
Oh, and the Lakers had lost four straight going into Friday’s matchup with the Clippers.
“I think it was well-needed at the point in time that we were at,” Ingram said. “I think in these last two games, very winnable games, I don’t think we played up to our potential.”
Recognizing the need to clear the air, Walton said he even considered burning sage, a la Phil Jackson.
“There’s some frustration,” Walton said. “But there’s frustration on every team unless you win every game. Whenever you lose games, there’s frustration, people want to play more as everyone in […]