Dick Vitale turns on ESPN for LaVar Ball coverage

Dallas Mavericks head coach and NBA Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle was not pleased with ESPN's publication of a story that centered around LaVar Ball saying Luke Walton has has lost the Lakers locker room.

Had the interview ended at that point, Ball's father would have seemed like a disconnected parent.

"I'll play for anybody", Ball responded to the yes or no question with half a smile, followed by a head nod in self approval at his response. Walton was in good spirits, shooting around after the walk-through with Ball, Kyle Kuzma and assistant coach Brian Shaw.

The response was far from a ringing endorsement of Walton and could be perceived to be the opposite. "I don't decide who the coach is".

When asked about his job security last week, Walton said, "I coach as if it's not" in jeopardy. My only concern with any of it is for [Lonzo Ball].

"He was ready to play", LaVar said, before criticizing Walton for interrupting Lonzo's rhythm. "But he knows I am ready to play".




When Walton spoke at shootaround on Sunday morning, he said he had not yet had a conversation with Lonzo Ball about his father's comments. It's a hard task and if you don't believe it then just as me. "I think our players are playing very hard".

Walton said Sunday that he was "fine" with LaVar's comments, on one condition. They held a team meeting on December 28 to air out myriad issues, from players who were unhappy about roles, minutes and rotations, to the direction the team is taking with its focus on signing two star free agents next summer.

"He's going to speak his mind. They're giving us what they have and we're going to keep working and we'll be fine".

The Lakers have lost nine straight games. "That's what they do.' And it's our job as coaches and an organization to do what's best for our team and our players".

"I feel very secure in my job status right now", he said. "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". "We talk all the time". I don't think [Walton has lost the locker room].

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