Reports: Los Angeles Lakers ask LaVar Ball to tone down public criticism of Luke Walton
From NBA media reports
The Los Angeles Lakers’ front office and LaVar Ball — the father of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball — recently had a meeting in which LaVar Ball was asked to tone down his public criticism of coach Luke Walton.
The news, which was reported by both the Los Angeles Times‘ Tania Ganguli and ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne, comes roughly a week after it was reported the Lakers were re-enforcing the “LaVar Ball rule” at home games. This latest meeting concerning Walton, though, took place in the last few weeks and was called by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.
The meeting followed an interview with Bleacher Report in which Ball said the Lakers coaching staff was too soft on point guard Lonzo Ball and didn’t know how to properly coach him.
“It was a good conversation,” LaVar said after Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden. “What I love about [Johnson] is just the communication that we have as a family and as friends to fix the situation they’re just solutions that we throw off each other. That’s all it is. The press is going to make it out like I’m trying to demean them or they’re trying to demean me. And it’s not.
“We’re just talking, we’re just talking. We’re trying to do what’s best for the team. That’s all.”
Although LaVar appreciated the chat, it did not change the way he spoke to reporters. Six days later, an interview aired on Sirius XM in which Ball detailed his concerns with the way Lakers coach Luke Walton was playing Lonzo, including the fact that he should get more playing time in the fourth quarter.
In an interview with Shelburne, LaVar Ball confirmed the meeting took place and said he ultimately wants to do what is best for his son:
“It was the best thing, man. Everybody’s going to try to make it an ego thing, like I’m trying to tell them what to do or they’re trying to tell me to tone it down. It’s not about that. It’s about coming together and to get a solution to this problem.
“It may sound crazy to other people, but I really just want the best for Lonzo, and the best for Lonzo is going to be what’s best for the organization. Because if everybody winning, we good.”
A Lakers insider said the main message to Ball was that they’ve tried to keep their relationship positive, while still allowing him to speak his mind, and they’d prefer he did the same.
Ball said he agreed with that characterization, for the most part, and that he told Johnson and Pelinka he understood their position and would try to abide by that request.
“I’m going to say whatever I want to say, however I want to say it,” Ball said. “And they said, ‘LaVar, come and talk to us first.’ So that’s fine too.
“But I am going to say, to plant a seed, ‘Let’s look for this now.’ They may not want to hear that, but it’s going to be successful if you listen to what I’m saying on that fact that I know what it takes for my son to run like this.
LaVar Ball also told ESPN.com he does not have a direct relationship with Walton and that he hasn’t talked to him due to time constraints on both of their schedules.
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