The rookie tag naturally made Luke Walton a candidate f…

The rookie tag naturally made Luke Walton a candidate for hazing. So did his father, Bill, the Hall of Fame center that never hesitated sharing his thoughts while holding a microphone. So with Walton entering his rookie season with the 2003-04 season, the Lakers’ veterans in Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton and Karl Malone offered them a stern warning in training camp. “They let me know life was going to be hell for me that year because of stuff my dad had said,” Walton said before the Lakers hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at Staples Center. “It worked out.”
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August 23, 2017 | 5:12 am EDT Update
There are some sour grapes on Cleveland’s end of things, of course. Not necessarily from James, who tweeted out a glowing tribute to Irving. He will be “ready at training camp no matter what,” according to a source close to James. But from others who wonder if Irving bit off more than he could chew. “I was hoping Ky was going to get to lead a team,” one Cavs player told ESPN. “See what it’s like to have the entire franchise on his back.”
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Speights had to settle for a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum with the Magic, but if he emerges as a leader for this squad and produces when given playing time, he could ink a more lucrative deal next offseason when he will be an unrestricted free agent again. “It was a weird free agency period,” Speights said. “As you know, the money kind of dried up, especially for backup big men. So for me, I figured if I’m going to play on a minimum deal, which is what I got, I might as well play for Orlando! This allows me to be close to home and around my family. I also feel like there’s an opportunity to play and contribute in Orlando. I’m not exactly sure what my role is going to be yet – I can only control what I can control – but I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team. That’s my mindset entering training camp and the season. It’s on the coaching staff to determine my role. But I love to hoop, so I’ll enjoy every minute I’m out there.”
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