When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it in some sense gave his outspoke father, LaVar Ball, a further sense of validation. LaVar had long been predicting his sone would wind up on his hometown team.
He’s since forecasted that Lonzo would eventually be joined on the Lakers by younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, with LaVar recently saying that will come to fruition in 2020. But in addition to that outlandish claim has come heavy criticism of Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
LaVar’s latest critique was to say Walton no longer has control of the team and the players don’t want to play for him. LaVar also voiced his displeasure with the handling of Lonzo’s minutes in his return from a shoulder sprain.
The remarks come just over one month since Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka met with LaVar to ask that he refrain from public criticism.
Walton said he isn’t privy to the details of any meetings between the Lakers front office and LaVar, and explained he feels supported and ins’t concerned by the criticism so long as his relationship with Lonzo remains unchanged, via Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
“I know they have my back. Those meetings, I’m not concerned with those. My concern is coaching our team, prepping for games and working with what gives us the best chance to win. So, I know our front office and organization have my back. And they’ll do whatever they have to do on their end of it. I’m not spending my time trying to figure out what they’re all doing about it.
“I’m fine with it, it doesn’t bother me. My only concern with any of it is for ‘Zo. As long as ‘Zo is fine with it, and it doesn’t affect mine and his relationship, then it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s not ideal, obviously, but we have each other and that’s it.”
Walton also refuted the notion that he’s lost the locker room. With yet another outside distraction swirling, the Lakers will look to end their season-worst nine-game losing streak on Sunday night against the struggling Atlanta Hawks.
Brandon Ingram called the mounting losses ‘depressing,’ because the Lakers believe they’re improved from last season. That group never lost nine in a row, but did have two separate eight-game losing streaks.
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