The NBA restart was unexpectedly disrupted on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks went on strike in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The Orlando bubble came as close to bursting as it could get with reports claiming Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James lead in the efforts to end the playoffs that same night.
James was said to have stormed out of the players’ meeting, with the Lakers and L.A. Clippers reportedly being the only two teams voting to stop the games and leave the bubble. The three-time NBA champion was believed to have been frustrated with Milwaukee’s rash decision to sit the game out without a plan going forward.
But Danny Green refuted that notion in the first public comments from anyone with the Lakers organization since uncertain stretch began. “I’ve heard many different stories of LeBron said this, LeBron did that. So and so said this, so and so said that. Most of it was untrue,” Green began.
“I don’t know what you’ve heard or what you think is true. Everybody has different opinions, but the meetings went as simple as we had our own team meeting before the (players’) meeting. We discussed it, how our approach was, we were kind of with the majority of what guys wanted to do. Teams made votes, we had a discussion about it, things got heated, it was a long meeting — about three hours almost. I think guys just needed a break.
“Once things kind of got heated we went to go take a food break, went back in the meeting after we ate and used the bathroom, and talked to them again. Said we would circle back the next morning, and we had a couple meetings. It’s not something that was going to happen overnight. We knew that and ‘Bron knew that.
“We were always with the majority most of the time. It wasn’t like we were trying to make a decision for the league; ‘Well alright, everybody else said yes, we’re saying no.’ That’s not how it was.
Green added the team fully supported any decision James would arrive at. And while the notion James and the Lakers tried to control the situation for all teams was dismissed as untrue, Green acknowledged there was an internal struggle.
“You could tell he was in place where he was fighting with his mind and heart. His heart was in one place and his mind was in another,” Green said. “You could tell the bubble is getting not just to him but to everybody. We came, we talked as a team, he’s our leader, he made a decision for us, and we were behind it regardless of what that was.
“Most of us had already talked about it and let him know. His decision was what it was, we talked about it again, talked to other teams and went from there.”
A premature end to the playoffs would likely have had a ripple effect, with a costly lockout likely occurring ahead of the next season. Green highlighted that Lakers veterans were aware a shutdown would have not been a fair outcome to the younger generation of players, which was a big factor in their change of heart.
Game 5 between Lakers and Blazers scheduled for Saturday night
After heated conversations resulted in a unanimous vote to resume the playoffs, Game 5 of the first-round series between L.A. and Portland has been rescheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.
Spectrum SportsNet and TNT will televise the clash as the Lakers are hoping to claim their first playoff series win since 2012.
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