LeBron James: 'There Is No Blame' to Give Frank Vogel, Lakers Coaches for Struggles

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to LeBron James #6 during a preseason game against the Golden State Warriorson October 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said head coach Frank Vogel and his staff deserve "no blame" for the team's recent struggles, which include four losses in its last five games.

The four-time NBA MVP grew frustrated with the line of questioning about Vogel following Wednesday's 111-104 home loss to the Indiana Pacers.

"I'm not in that business, of pointing fingers or pointing blame," James told reporters. "It's not my lane. I'm not a negative person. So if you got something to ask me besides trying to s--t on somebody, I'll answer those. ... It seems like y'all are in s--t mode right now."

It appeared L.A. had started to find a groove with a modest four-game winning streak to improve its record to 21-19 before the recent cold spell. Now the Lakers are back under .500 (22-23) as they head out on a six-game road trip.

James explained he believes Vogel and Co. have done their job and that it's up to the players to execute.

"Coaching staff has been great," he said. "They put us in position to succeed, and it's up to us to handle the business, so there's always things that we all can do better, but there's no blame."

The questions come after Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Tuesday that Vogel was "at risk of being fired soon" if the Lakers didn't show progress.

Los Angeles entered the season with championship-level expectations after an offseason roster overhaul around James and Anthony Davis, highlighted by the addition of Russell Westbrook, but the group has yet to show any level of consistency.

Part of that is the injury-related absences of James, who missed 12 games earlier in the campaign, and Davis, who's currently sidelined by a knee injury. However, even in the instances where the Lakers were at full strength, they struggled to string wins together.

The Lakers coach said that despite the recent speculation he doesn't feel "under siege" and understands why there's been some outside noise as of late.

"In this business and with this team, if you're not winning at a super-high level, you're going to get this type of noise," Vogel told reporters before the Pacers loss. "I'm good at blocking it out. I feel good about the job we're doing, and obviously we believe the results are going to come. But over the course of an 82-game season with a new group, you're going to have some ugly nights."

Wednesday was one of those nights as the Lakers allowed the Pacers (16-29) to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field (44 of 90) as their home record dropped to 15-12.

While there's still plenty of time for Los Angeles to right the ship, the regular season is now past its halfway point with no indication the star-studded team belongs in the conversation of the NBA's top title contenders.

Perhaps everything will finally click when Davis returns from injury and the Lakers will take off, but until something like that happens, questions about Vogel's status are likely to linger.