The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a little soul searching. Instead of practicing as scheduled Thursday, coach Luke Walton and his players held a team meeting to clear the air about their recent struggles, per The Orange County Register's Bill Oram.
After a fairly promising 8-10 start, the Lakers have gone 3-12 since Nov. 22, dropping them to 13th in the Western Conference while adding fuel to the trade rumor mill.
Notably, second-year pro Brandon Ingram cited "the business of the organization" as a point of emphasis at the meeting - and the swingman presumably wasn't referring to the concessions prices at Staples Center. The frustrations discussed at Thursday's meeting are likely related to what veteran center Andrew Bogut called a "salary-cap situation" last week; essentially, players see the Lakers have positioned their salary commitments for big-name additions in free agency next summer, and the writing is on the wall that several current players are not in the long-term plans.
But considering the Lakers have one of the youngest rosters in the Association - 29-year-old Brook Lopez is the only player over 26 who's averaging more than 20 minutes per game - it's not a complete shock that the team's execution has been inconsistent at times, especially with a trio of rookies - Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart - logging significant playing time.
"Everyone on the team said something on how they feel," said Kuzma, who's managed to average 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game despite the team's overall struggles.
Ingram echoed his teammate's sentiment: "Hopefully we think about what we said to each other, what we said to the coaches, and that the coaches have listened to what we said."