LaVar Ball might have been right after all. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers do not support Luke Walton, and NBA executives and agents suspect David Fizdale will be Walton’s replacement. From the Rich Eisen Show (starting at 0:50): “Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton. And that is now crystal clear. And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me—executives, coaches, agents—who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach. Because that has been revealed here: That they do not have unconditional support for Luke. I got executives in my ear, I got agents in my ear, saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale.’”
January 20, 2018 | 9:51 am EST Update
Marc Stein: There is a growing belief in league personnel circles that Utah could move swingman Rodney Hood before the Feb. 8 trade deadline … with multiple teams expressing interest
Sources also said the Cavs’ needs are a guard who can shoot and handle the ball, and, secondly, a rim protector. Separately, coach Tyronn Lue and players have said the team’s struggles this month can be pinned on a lack of continuity from the return of players like Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson from injuries.
Joe Vardon: Everyone wants to know if the Cavs would trade the pick, and there’s been much speculation that Cleveland would not, in fact, make a deal involving it. That’s not true, league sources have told me. The Cavs would consider trading it if the right player were available — a player who’s either elite or who has the potential to become elite and is signed for multiple years. That player may not be available. Paul George and the Thunder are getting it together. The Pelicans are playing better with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Cavs need a player who can dribble and shoot (sounds simple, but I’m serious), and after that, maybe a rim protector.
“Young Trey Burke was not all the way focused on basketball,’’ Burke said before the Knicks beat the Jazz 117-115. “Distractions going on in my life as a young player. “At the same time, I do feel I did a great job my rookie season. Second year, they drafted another point guard [Exum] — which kind of messed with my mind. It played with me a little bit. That’s where it went wrong. My rookie season the coach [Tyrone Corbin] gets fired. Going into the second year, it’s a whole new coaching staff to get used to. Sometimes it don’t work out.’’
Gina Mizell: Will Barton on the #Nuggets’ effort level: “Shots aren’t always gonna go in, but you can always play hard. We’re not doing that enough. We pick and choose when we want to play hard, and we can’t do that. We’re not good enough to do that.”
Rockets guard Chris Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players’ Association, would not share his position or the union’s on the idea of having the draft of All-Star teams to be made by captains Steph Curry and LeBron James public. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been opposed, despite the clamoring to have the selections Asked if he expressed his opinion, Paul said, “Yup.” Asked if he would share what he said, Paul said, “Nope.”