Los Angeles, April 5: Steve Kerr said he is disappointed for LeBron James after the Los Angeles Lakers missed out on the NBA playoffs, although he praised coach Luke Walton for his handling of a tough season.
The Lakers have not made the postseason since 2012-13 but were hopeful that would change after signing James to a four-year contract last year.
However, Los Angeles' hopes were ended early and they are sitting 11th in the Western Conference - with a 35-43 record - heading into Thursday's game against defending champions the Golden State Warriors.
This season marks only the third time in James' 16-season career that the four-time MVP has missed the playoffs and Warriors coach Kerr believes it would have been better for the league had the Lakers and their star man made it.
"We got so used to playing in Cleveland," Kerr told reporters. "When a star player changes uniforms, it always takes them a while to get used to it.
"I'm disappointed for him and for the Lakers. I want everybody to be healthy every year. It's better for the league, it's better for all the people involved."
business trip pic.twitter.com/uIpG4ygqZi— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 4, 2019
The Lakers dealt with several setbacks this season as much of their roster was injured at some point during the campaign.
James (groin), Brandon Ingram (shoulder), Lonzo Ball (ankle) and Josh Hart (knee) have all been shut down early, while co-owner Jeanie Buss says the Lakers had their entire squad available to play in just five games all season.
Kerr is not concerned about the future of the Lakers and believes Walton, his former assistant, has done a good job of keeping the team together.
"Luke is one of my best friends and it's been a tough season to try to navigate." Kerr added. "I feel bad for everyone involved.
"He's holding up fine. Luke is born for this job, he really is; not only his basketball mind, which is top notch, but the guy has as good a feel for the game as anybody I've ever been around. His temperament is perfect for this job, for this league.
"There's just so many ups and downs that you have to be relatively even keeled in this position, otherwise you're just going to wear yourself out.
"So I think Luke's done a great job keeping poise and keeping his team playing."