Lonzo Ball‘s father is creating headlines in Los Angeles this morning with comments about Lakers coach Luke Walton, relays Jeff Goodman of ESPN. Lavar Ball claims Walton has lost control of the team and that Lakers players would like to see him replaced.
“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more,” he said. “Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him. … Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don’t know why they’re in the game. He’s too young. He’s too young. … He ain’t connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he’s not connecting with not one player.”
There’s more news out of L.A.:
- Ball’s comments came shortly after a report from Ohm Youngmisuk on ESPN Now that Walton believes he still has the support of Lakers management. Majority owner Jeanie Buss recently offered her backing on social media with an “InLukeWeTrust” hashtag, and Walton is confident that the organization is standing behind him during a nine-game losing streak. “As I preach to my players that control what you can control in life, that has to be my philosophy as a coach as well,” Walton said. “… [Team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka] have been great, they have been supportive. They obviously understand where we are at as a team and what we are trying to do and what the big picture is… [Buss] has been incredible. I’ve talked with her a lot during the season. She has been around this game for a long time. She knows when to be supportive and she has been really great to work with.”
- The chance to take a shot at James in free agency can’t come soon enough for the Lakers, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News, who says this season is unraveling both on the court and behind the scenes. Players expressed frustration with the play of Julius Randle during a recent team meeting, but he was inserted into the starting lineup for the following game, which Isola suggests was mandated by the front office in an effort to increase his trade value. He adds that such a move damages the coach’s standing in the locker room.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be released from a detention center Monday and will have his travel restrictions lifted, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN. Caldwell-Pope has been barred from leaving California while serving a 25-day sentence for a probation violation and has missed four of the team’s last five road games.