HoopsHype Luke Walton rumors

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With that message from his old coach in his head and with the memories of a resurgent 2012-13 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers fresh in his mind, Walton is not announcing his retirement and turning in his sneakers for a microphone. "I want to play still," said Walton, who has already met with the Lakers' D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, to discuss fulfilling a player development role that will allow him to work out with the team along with his TV duties. "I’ve trained all summer as if I was going to get a call. The call never came, so, I’m going to keep working out ... If nothing happens this year, then I’ll probably admit that it’s officially over." ESPN.com

But it was his friendship with Time Warner Cable anchor Chris McGee, who is so close to Walton that he was the emcee at Walton's wedding this past summer, that led to his latest career exploration. Station executives asked McGee to gauge Walton's interest, and the man who made it to four Finals in his 8½ years with the Lakers was intrigued. "For me, I’d be sitting on the couch watching Lakers games anyway, so I might as well do this and try something new and have fun with it and experience it," Walton said, who joins Byron Scott -- his coach in Cleveland -- as a new addition to the TWC SportsNet staff. It gives both Walton and the Lakers the chance to redo their working relationship that ended unceremoniously with him being sent to Cleveland in a deal to acquire Ramon Sessions back on the trade deadline in March 2012. ESPN.com

Walton is aware that his father, Bill Walton, who has been broadcasting professionally for more than 20 years, already established a reputation for being barb-tongued, but he thinks his on-air presence will be much different. "I think I have to look at it similar to our playing careers," Walton said. "When I was coming up through the ranks in high school and people were always comparing him to me, I used to struggle with it until I just made the decision, ‘Look, I’m playing. This is who I am. This is what I do and I’m playing this game for me.’ I think that’s what I’ll have to do in broadcasting or television as well because our personalities are completely different. "I mean, I used to bring the guy in to talk at my camps and tell him he had an hour, and an hour and 45 minutes later we’re literally physically taking him off the court like, ‘We have to get camp going.’ And that’s not me. I don’t want to talk for an hour and a half." ESPN.com

October 3, 2013 Updates

Time Warner Cable SportsNet is excited to announce that Lakers legend Byron Scott and Lakers favorite Luke Walton have joined the network’s on-air team. The two have 39 years of combined NBA experience and five Lakers NBA Championship rings and Walton played in the NBA as recently as last season. Scott and Walton join former Lakers James Worthy and Robert Horry to give Time Warner Cable SportsNet a total of 15 NBA Championships and members of Lakers teams from the past four decades. NBA.com

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But Walton was the glue that held the Cavaliers' second unit together, before all the injuries decimated the Cavs rotation. "I think he's done fantastic this year for us,'' Cavs coach Byron Scott said of Walton. "I got a lot more out of him than I thought we would ever get out of him." Walton, who will marry former Arizona volleyball player Bre Ladd this summer, is in the last year of his contract. He would like to continue to play, whether here or elsewhere. Scott thinks he still has a lot to offer. "I thought his experience was invaluable. I thought his presence in the locker room was unbelievable. His demeanor with the guys, the way he communicates with our guys ... they've got a lot of respect for what he's gone through and what he's done.'' Cleveland Plain Dealer

That's one of the reasons why Pastner hired Walton as an assistant, but there were others -- besides the instant credibility a two-time NBA champion brought. "Luke's got a tremendous personality,'' Pastner said. "People are attracted to him because of his personality. He's easygoing. He's easy to talk to. He's down to earth and I think he's got a really good feel for people.'' Said Tomey, "Everybody likes Luke. He knows how to get along with people. He's genuine and honest. He's a breath of fresh air.'' Cleveland Plain Dealer

March 18, 2013 Updates
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Walton’s back feels so good, he thinks he can play in the NBA another couple of seasons. And to the surprise of both Walton and the Cavs, this relationship could extend beyond this season. Walton was a money dump when the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the Cavs at the deadline last season. The Lakers were thrilled to get out from under the $6 million owed him for this season, and most expected he would sit on the end of the Cavs bench and collect a check before drifting off into retirement. Even Walton thought that’s how it might go. “With the amount of back pain I’ve had the previous four or five years, I was going to give it everything I had this year, and if my back acted up, I was going to retire,” Walton said. “Now that my back has been feeling much better, I’m enjoying this.” Akron Beacon Journal

To the surprise of most everyone, he doesn’t have to worry about that right now. He has more games to play — maybe even with the Cavs. He would have to take a veteran’s minimum contract to return here, something he understands and is even receptive to doing. “I’ve made my money,” he said. Scott believes there is a place on this roster for Walton next season — albeit in a reduced role given that two more first-round picks will be added to this team over the summer. For now, Walton is receptive to the idea. “I’m enjoying this,” he said. “I think this core group of people here and this coaching staff are doing some really good things and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I haven’t really gotten that far into it yet, but I’m still focusing on trying to stay healthy and having fun playing this game and helping this team become better. But I love playing with these guys.” Akron Beacon Journal

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