On the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast this week, ESPN's Jackie McMullan reported that there's "a lot of tension in that building," and James' camp would rather see the Lakers replace Luke Walton as the team's head coach.
"There's a lot of tension in that building," McMullan saind, "A lot of tension in that building, and I think people are wondering about Luke Walton even though Jeanie Buss came out very strongly and said 'I want Luke to be here, I back him 100 percent,' but then also made the point that has to be made, and that's that she hired Earvin Magic Johnson to make these decisions, and if Earvin feels differently she gave him the power to make those kinds of decisions. It's clear to me, and probably to you Brian, that LeBron's camp would prefer a coaching change. They're not too subtle about that. I don't think that's fair, I don't."
McMullan admits that James himself hasn't made such claims to the front office, but his camp believes that it would be in the team's best interest to part ways with Walton. James has missed the last 15 games and has already been ruled out of Sunday's matchup with the Suns (9:30 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass extension) with a moderate groin strain that he suffered during the team's Christmas Day win against the Golden State Warriors.
Walton is current in his third season as the Lakers head coach after serving as an assistant under Steve Kerr while with the Warriors. During Walton's time with the franchise, he's accumulated an 86-127 record and is coming off a campaign in which Los Angeles won 35 games with a young roster. Walton has led the Lakers to a 25-24 mark through the 2018-19 season thus far after dealing with several significant injuries.
It's unclear when James will return to the court, but it's been made clear that he isn't willing to do so until his groin injury is 100 percent healed. Prior to going out of the lineup, James put together averages of 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.
It is worth noting that the Lakers have registered just a 5-10 record since James went down and are currently riding a three-game losing streak. If the team continues to struggle, it could be a situation that Magic Johnson and company look into.