LaVar Ball: Lakers 'don't want to play' for coach Luke Walton

Peter Castro
January 8, 2018

Speaking from a luxury resort in Lithuania, where his two youngest sons are preparing to make their professional debuts with Prienu Vytautas, the elder Ball made his comments to an ESPN reporter embedded with the family after the Lakers lost 108-94 to Charlotte on Friday night.

That's why on Sunday before the Mavericks played NY, he fired back at a story heavily quoting LaVar Ball, the outspoken father Los Angeles point guard Lonzo Ball, about Lakers' coach Luke Walton's control of the team. Everyone can hate it all they want but LaVar Ball has proven himself to be newsworthy - if he weren't, Carlisle wouldn't be bothering to talk about him.

Ball, who was up at 5 a.m. local time Saturday to watch his son Lonzo Ball in his first game back with the Lakers since suffering a sprained shoulder on December 23, expressed his frustration with Walton in an exclusive interview with ESPN.

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. "He's our head coach. We are going to play for him".

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

Ball was asked directly if he likes Walton as his head coach. "That is all I do, is play".

The response was far from a ringing endorsement of Walton and could be perceived to be the opposite.

He clarified what he meant by ESPN's role in backing up the coaches meant. "I don't decide who coaches".

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Hornacek gave his two cents on Ball's remarks.

Walton said he "would disagree" with the assertion he had lost the locker room. "My only concern with any of it is Zo (Lonzo Ball)". It's a hard task and if you don't believe it just ask me ...

Had he lost the locker room?

"I'll play for anybody", Ball said. "I think our players are playing very hard". "I think the players are playing very hard, we've been through a hard stretch, but they are giving us what they have and we're going to keep working and we'll be fine". That team won the first 24 games of the season and 39-4 under Walton's guidance. Currently, the Lakers sit at 11-27, the worst mark in the Western Conference and the second-worst record in the National Basketball Association.

Carlisle said he was making the comments as president of the coach's association when he called the report "a disgrace" and labeled Ball, the father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, a "blowhard loudmouth" with "ignorant" opinions.

"It doesn't influence what we're doing", Walton said. I tell him to go get the victory. You might expect it from management or former players.

In response to Ball's comments, Walton told reporters that he did not feel that his job was in jeopardy.

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