Around The NBA: Lakers Nation’s Five For Friday
Rocky Widner-NBAE via Getty Images

Luke Walton’s Lawyer Fires Back
Yesterday in a joint statement, the NBA along with the Sacramento Kings announced that they would be investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against new Kings coach Luke Walton.

Former sports reporter Kelli Tennant filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Walton, who was recently hired by the Kings, assaulted her in a California hotel room in 2014 when he was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. Walton, who until recently worked as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, has denied the allegations through his attorney, Mark D. Baute.

On Wednesday, Baute alled Tennant’s sexual assault claim “false” and “outrageous” and said in a prepared statement, “These claims are false, and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court,” and that “her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”

Tennant’s lawsuit asks for a jury trial but does not seek specific monetary damages.

Rockets Waiting On Warriors
The Houston Rockets defeating the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night and clinch the series in five short games, setting up a potential second round match-up with the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

Rockets center Clint Capela made it known he’s ready for a date with the Warriors. “That’s what I want. I want to face them,” Capela said in the postgame press conference.

However the Los Angeles Clippers were having none of that, defeating the Warriors on the road Wednesday for the second road win in this series. The win guarantees the series returns to Los Angeles tonight for Game #6.

Phoenix Suns To Interview Monty Williams
Earlier this week the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Igor Kokoskov after just one season. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns top target is Philadelphia 76’ers assistant coach Monty Williams. The 76’ers have reportedly granted Phoenix permission to interview their assistant coach on Tuesday, leading to a scheduled interview in Toronto today before the Sixers take the court vs the Toronto Raptors tonight.

Trevor Lane of Tweeted that while the Lakers and Suns are both after Williams, both teams have other options, and noted that it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. The Suns basketball facilities are not on par with Lakers, but neither is their level of drama.

Playoffs Series Odds: #2 Toronto Raptors vs. #3 Philadelphia 76ers
One thing for sure in this second round series that begins on Saturday, all eyes will be on Kawhi Leonard and Ben Simmons. Simmons has been a total disaster when matched up against Leonard this year, and the series odds that have Toronto a -220 favorite reflect that and the depth and experience of this years’ Raptors team.

A number of betting blogs including the Action Network and 888 Sports have good second round coverage of the action which begins tomorrow in Toronto.

LeBron James And The Lakers #1?
They may be out of the playoffs, but LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers sit at the top of the NBA in terms of jersey and merchandise sales. According to the NBA, the Los Angeles superstar had the most popular jersey while the Lakers were the top team in terms of overall merchandise sales.

Last years’ jersey leader Stephen Curry of the reigning champion Warriors fell into second this year, after spending three consecutive regular seasons at number one in jersey sales. Rankings are based on sales since the beginning of the 2018-19 season through the start of the playoffs. Golden State finished second in overall merchandise sales, followed by Boston, and Philadelphia.

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