While Buss has been an ardent backer of Walton, she has also empowered Johnson, who has been less resolute in his support. His efforts have all worked against his coach rather than with him. After delivering James in July, Johnson ignored the pleas of the coaching staff that he retain Brook Lopez and Julius Randle. Instead, he signed controversial and limited journeymen JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson. When a fiery early season meeting between Johnson and Walton became public, Johnson responded not by saying he supported Walton but that he would allow him to “finish the season.” After the season? All bets would presumably be off.
October 6, 2022 | 12:26 pm EDT Update
Miami has earned the benefit of the doubt. It will have a stout, switchable defense even with Tucker gone. (The Heat have interest in Jae Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.)
The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.
If Wednesday’s postgame words were any indication, he’ll hope respect begets respect and not demand anything from the referees. “I appreciate the refs,” Maxey said. “They’re great. They’ve been doing a great job. They’ve been tasked with a very hard job. A lot of our guys probably are tough on them. So they’re doing a great job and I have nothing but respect for every single ref in our league. “I just go out there and try to play hard, go to the rim, and sometimes draw contact, get to the line and help us move the scoreboard.”