Luke Walton on tense exchange: ‘We discussed it, moved forward’
Luke Walton insists the reported tense exchange between himself and a handful of veteran players over the weekend has been dealt with and the team has moved on.
“We address it, because that’s how I believe our culture should be,” Walton said after Tuesday’s shootaround ahead of a 136-94 blowout road loss to the Indiana Pacers, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We’ll talk about everything that needs to be [brought up]. But it wasn’t a big thing. We discussed it, moved forward.”
The embattled Los Angeles Lakers head coach was said to have been involved in a “emotionally-charged verbal exchange” with several veterans following Saturday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.
One of the principals involved, Michael Beasley, denied the nature of the reporting regarding the incident.
“This past Saturday after the Warriors game, Coach Walton and our team had a conversation after a tough loss,” Beasley said, via Yahoo. “Despite reports to the contrary, there was nothing physical between Coach Walton, me, or any other teammate,” Beasley said. “I’ve sat back in the past when stories have been twisted and misreported, but I won’t do that this time. I respect Luke and I respect this team. We are trying to win a championship together.”
The Lakers have been heavily involved in negotiations to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, trade rumors that have involved many players on the roster. Walton understands how being the subject of such talk can be stressful for players.
“Part of what we believe in our culture is compassion,” Walton said. “So we totally understand what guys are going through this time of year, all the stuff that’s happening…”
Walton, amid the fallout of Saturday’s incident, already found himself in a precarious position, as reports suggest his grasp on the Lakers’ coaching job has weakened significantly in recent weeks.
In other words, the purported mutiny involving team veterans could not have come as a worse time. The fact that LeBron James is said to be frustrated with Lakers’ direction this season is not helping Walton’s cause, nor will James’ suffering the worst loss of his NBA career Tuesday night.