Forward Brandon Ingram presumably will return to a starting role when the Lakers play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night after serving a four-game suspension for his role in the fight with Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul.
The revolving lineup changes in the absence of Ingram and Rajon Rondo, who returned Saturday in San Antonio from a three-game suspension, have presented coach Luke Walton with a challenge from game to game.
Walton started Rondo for the first two games at point guard but switched to Lonzo Ball while Rondo was suspended. Ball remained the starter when Rondo returned.
Kyle Kuzma started the last four games at forward in place of Ingram, who had started the first two games.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had started the first three games at shooting guard, but Josh Hart has started there the last three.
In Walton’s eyes, the players are adapting to the constant changes and trying to figure out how to make things work.
“It’s a little bit of both. We’ve had a little bit of time together, gone through some different lineups,” Walton said after the Lakers lost to the Spurs. “And then obviously with the suspensions, the lineups that were getting minutes together changed and now we have Rondo back, and we’ll get Brandon back tomorrow.
“Now it changes again a little bit. So it’s all part of it. That’s why we keep stressing the team being the most important thing no matter what the lineups are. As long as we’re playing for the same purpose and we have the same priorities, we’ll be all right.”
During the game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night at Staples Center, Walton went to a funky lineup late in the third quarter in an effort to find a spark.
Walton had center JaVale McGee playing with four guards — Ball, Hart, Lance Stephenson and Caldwell-Pope. Walton later substituted forward Svi Mykhailiuk for Ball.
They kept the Lakers close, giving Walton hope that the players can adjust at a moment’s notice.
“We don’t have a problem finding cohesion,” McGee said Saturday night. “Everybody knows their role and we all like running up and down the floor and getting it out. So, I feel like when Ingram is back, we’ll have our whole squad back and we’ll be just fine.”
LeBron James thanks Tyronn Lue
LeBron James and coach Tyronn Lue developed a special bond when the two were together in Cleveland, leading the Cavaliers to the NBA championship in 2016.
So when Lue was fired Sunday, James thanked his former coach on Twitter for the four seasons they were together and what they brought the city of Cleveland.
When: Monday, 5 p.m. PDT.
On Air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330.