LeBron James: Lakers star Lonzo Ball makes surprise admission after Luke

After the Lakers initially struggled with their MVP limping off against Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, Walton demanded more from Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in particular.

He said they needed to provide more aggression for his side.

And Ball believes Walton’s comments were justified and that has been reflected in the better form of the Lakers since.

He told The Athletic: “He’s a very, very chill coach, you know what I mean?

“He kind of gives players the freedom to do what they want to do.

“And this year, we’ve just got a lot of new players, obviously, and my role changed, and I’m fine with that.

“I just want to do what I can to help (them) win, and I think Luke wants the same.

“(But) that comment challenged us.

“And we’ve been playing better ever since, so obviously he made the right choice.”

The Lakers return to action tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 2.30am GMT.

It is not known when LeBron James will return to the NBA court but some reports have stated he will be out until February.

NBA reporter Brandon Robinson believes four-time MVP LeBron could sit out for as long as another seven weeks.

The host of the Scoop B Radio Podcast said on Twitter: “Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James injury is more complex than what has been initially reported, I’m told.

“Per Lakers source: LeBron could rushed back and return at the end of January.

“But he could very well be out until the end of February, or even longer.”

The Lakers currently sit eight in the NBA Western Conference.