The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-103 on Sunday evening.
With the win, LA moved to 19-19 on the year. Minnesota, meanwhile, dropped to 16-20.
As has often been the case for the Lakers this season, even in victory they didn’t look particularly great.
And the standout moment from this outing proved to be something totally unrelated to what happened on the court.
At the end of the second quarter Lakers star LeBron James could be seen running over to 50-year-old assistant coach Phil Handy and having a very heated exchange with him.
The video speaks for itself:
LeBron and Phil Handy having a talkpic.twitter.com/RjOR9s0d6F
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) January 3, 2022
LeBron and Phil Handy got into it 😳👀 pic.twitter.com/oF6EbVuxhJ
— SLEEPERSALLDAY (@sleepersallday) January 3, 2022
At the moment when this incident occurred, LA held a 57-54 lead. They were shooting a solid 53 percent from the field, but as has often been the case this season – could not stop turning the ball over. They had 11 heading into halftime alone.
Whether that is what ultimately led to James’ frustration or something else remains unclear.
Social media, as per usual, had its own theories on what happened:
They were arguing over who’s gonna tell Westbrook he’s getting fuckin traded. Apparently neither of them want to
— Jaron Samuel (@SamuelJaron) January 3, 2022
Lebron has been in control and done whatever he’s wanted since high school. He’s yet to realize that he’s a player. Coaches are there to coach. He thinks he knows everything! That’s why people get tired of playing with him! Teammates are not teammates to him.
— Anthony Johnson (@1080Johnson) January 3, 2022
LeBron James? He is uncoachable player. He is a good even great player but he has no idea that like an orchestra conductor, coaches are getting paid to blend the talent of the team
— Fred Dalagan (@DalaganFred) January 3, 2022
Handy has been an NBA assistant for more than a decade. In addition to his time with the Lakers, he has also been with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. This isn’t his first rodeo.
Which probably explains why he handled James relatively well in that moment.
Big picture – LA has some important decisions to make in the coming weeks. The front office has spoken to two teams about a Russell Westbrook trade, and it’s now or never to get something done.
Now that’s how you celebrate New Year’s. https://t.co/w4DEK6Qwyd
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 3, 2022
Beyond that, the specter of a deal with the Indiana Pacers continues to hang over everyone’s head.
There is definitely still time to right the ship for the Lakers. But moves need to be made, ASAP.