Ryan Ward: Josh Hart on Magic Johnson: "At the end of t…

More on Los Angeles Lakers Turmoil?

Chris Grenham: Danny Ainge tells @Toucherandrich that he hasn’t reached out to Magic Johnson and he probably won’t. Said they don’t have that kind of relationship but he has a great deal of respect for Magic.
He didn’t have the professionalism to tell LeBron, a source close to James confirmed, forcing one of the greatest players of all time to learn about Johnson’s decision through the media. Never mind, as the source also confirmed, that LeBron had met with Johnson, Pelinka, and his agent, Rich Paul, on Saturday to discuss the future of the franchise without even a hint that this was coming. Three days later, Johnson was engaging in a 40-minute public therapy session with reporters that only sparked more questions about what he had done.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently gave Magic Johnson permission to fire coach Luke Walton at the conclusion of this season after being informed of Walton’s unwillingness to “bulk up" his coaching staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Johnson, who held an impromptu news conference outside the Lakers’ locker room Tuesday to announce his resignation as president before the team’s final game of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers, had been displeased with Walton’s ability to effectively make in-game adjustments and he felt the coaching staff lacked the experience and expertise to foster player development, sources said.
Johnson wanted to replace Walton during the season, but Buss was reluctant to venture down that road until now, sources said. The 59-year-old business mogul told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday he had the power to do what he saw fit for the franchise and said what would have transpired after exit interviews on Wednesday had nothing to do with why he made the shocking decision to resign.
The brain trust Buss relies on within the Lakers is fairly small. It includes Johnson and Linda Rambis, Buss’ friend and the organization’s manager of special events whose title does not accurately reflect her influence.
“I’ve been in this league 40 years. A lot of players got traded on Thursday. Guess what’s going to happen next year? A lot of players going to get traded, and a lot of players will stay home. I talked to our guys. They’re in a good place. That’s all that matters.” But are they, really? That’s not the case if you talk to sources close to several key players. “Guys will be professional, but it will never be the same,” one agent who represents a Lakers player said.
Ryan Ward: LeBron James on time it takes to mesh w/ new additions: "This is a different season. Different circumstances because we've been injured. I've was injured. We've had guys that was in & out of the lineup throughout the whole season & then we have a couple new guys coming in..
"I love our team. I love the guys," Johnson said. "It's a tough part of our business whether you're mentioned in trade talk, or you get traded. It's a tough part of professional sports, but they came together and played great against Boston. My job is to make sure we stay together as a team and stay focused on the goal, which is to make the playoffs."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Asked if the Lakers are worried that relationships with the players have been fractured due to the trade rumors, Rob Pelinka says Magic Johnson, Luke Walton and himself have "really close relationships" with the players and that all players "understand there is a business component" to playing in the NBA.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Rob Pelinka on trying to get the locker room to move forward from all the trade rumors involving so many players on the roster: "You can choose how to respond. Does it draw you closer or push you apart?" Pelinka hopes that the Lakers, with two new shooters, will make the playoffs and let an all-time great like LeBron James lead the Lakers far. He made a comparison to the Patriots and hoping that other role players can shine in the postseason like Julian Edelman did.
Sensing that the Lakers have been weighed down by the persistent trade rumors over the last few weeks, Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, plans to meet with the team this weekend in Philadelphia, according to two people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Johnson wants to encourage the Lakers to stay the course and to focus on the task ahead with 27 regular-season games left to play, one person said.
Johnson will listen to every player who wants to speak, hoping to have an open dialogue with his team so they can all move forward together, one person said. The Lakers are chasing a playoff spot despite missing All-Star forward LeBron James for 17 games during the middle of the season. The Lakers (28-27) are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, 1½ games behind the eighth-place Clippers (30-26).
The Lakers are limping into Boston after a 42 point loss to the Pacers. The obvious question after such a loss, after all those public rumors, in a game that featured LeBron’s return, is whether the players are being adversely impacted by what’s happening. “I don’t know, that’s a question for those guys,” LeBron said. “It’s just all part of the business, and when you truly understand that, and you truly know this is a business, but you give 110 percent to whatever situation you’re in, then you’re able to live with it. But I know this has to be tough on guys that for the first time in their career, especially if you’re a young guy, to hear your name in trade rumors when you’ve been somewhere for a few years.”
“I’ve never put a cap on how many years I want to be a part of this league or how many years I want to play the game of basketball," he told reporters. "I think the time will tell itself, you know, when it’s time for me or I feel like it’s time for me to stop playing. But I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.”
Kyle Goon: Michael Beasley on his statement to @YahooSports, said he's "standing up for myself." Thinks that the report of tension between him and Luke Walton should've stayed in the locker room, and he doesn't want to dwell on it -- "I left that in Golden State."
Mike Trudell: Lance Stephenson: “I felt like our energy was down, and Indiana (took advantage).” He said trade talks “definitely” impact guys, and that while it’s tough, they’re professionals and have to focus and handle it. Can’t use it as an excuse.
Harrison Faigen: Luke said that trade rumors "affect everyone differently." He added that he's played on some teams that were able to get past them, and some that didn't show up to play.
The Los Angeles Lakers discussed the testy exchange between coach Luke Walton and several veteran players after L.A.'s Saturday loss in Golden State before turning the page to Tuesday's game against the Indiana Pacers. "We address it, because that's how I believe our culture should be," Walton said following shootaround Tuesday morning. "We'll talk about everything that needs to be [brought up]. But it wasn't a big thing. We discussed it, moved forward."
Beasley, in addressing the situation for the first time, denies it was such a heated incident. “This past Saturday after the Warriors game, Coach Walton and our team had a conversation after a tough loss. Despite reports to the contrary, there was nothing physical between Coach Walton, me, or any other teammate,” Beasley said. “I’ve sat back in the past when stories have been twisted and misreported, but I won’t do that this time. I respect Luke and I respect this team. We are trying to win a championship together.”
Several veteran players, including Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee, had emotionally-charged verbal exchanges with Walton, snapping back toward the coach’s playing time distribution and rotations, sources said. When Walton was making his points, it was undeniable for some in the locker room that he wasn’t just referring to Beasley and McGee, sources said. For Walton, playing time and rotations have been a difficult balancing act with a roster full of young talent and veterans — needing to satisfy players throughout the roster. As one source with knowledge of the postgame locker room described: “It was a heated scene.”
Players and coaches cooled off before the incident escalated into anything physical, and there was genuine hope around the Lakers that this was what this team needed to cleanse their issues. Beasley is among players who prefer clarity on their role and to be given confidence by Walton, sources said. Beasley and Walton spoke afterward, a source said, and moved past the incident. “They needed to talk things out,” another source said. “They needed it — and it will help them.”
According to sources, Walton made his views known that the we-over-me mentality needed to be more of a priority after the 115-101 loss that came without James (due to load management related to his recent groin strain injury). JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley didn’t agree, according to sources, and pushed back vociferously on that premise.
One source described the confrontation as “small, very small.” But in the current environment, that is unlikely to keep the wolves away.
Bill Oram: JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley were indeed involved in the postgame dust-up with Luke Walton, but a source tells me Lance Stephenson was not part of it.
Ramona Shelburne: Also... doesn’t seem like @Lance Stephenson was really involved in whatever it was. In other words, go back to your Netflix
Lakers Nation: From Lance...

http://twitter.com/LakersNation/status/1091948517663289344
Beasley, who also got into a verbal spat on the sideline with Walton during the Lakers' 138-128 overtime victory in Oklahoma City just more than two weeks ago, repeatedly referred to Walton as "bro" during the exchange Saturday, which touched a nerve with the coach, a source told ESPN.
‪During the streak, LeBron James — who admittedly struggles at times with patience — was asked if he’s been tinkering with his leadership approach, and the 14-time All-Star revealed that he was indeed tested during the team’s early struggles. ‬‪“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”‬
he’s continuing to emphasize — to himself and teammates — that the journey to becoming formidable is going to take some time. ‬‪“I had to regroup and remember this is a young team,” James told Yahoo Sports. “We’re playing some good ball right now and we’re starting to build some good habits. That’s all that matters right now.”‬
Stephen A. Smith: “As an aside, I just wanted, if you don’t mind, I just wanted to deviate away from this particular subject. I wanted to start off the show saying something — when I was in the Lakers locker room last night, Mr. Rondo directed a very disrespectful comment my way. He didn’t say it by name. I was standing right next to him. I just kept my head down because out of respect to the Los Angeles Lakers as an organization, I didn’t want to make a scene. So, I just left it at that. I just want Rondo to know I know that. Number 1. And Number 2 — I stand by my proclamation that he deserved a 15-game suspension for spitting in the face of Chris Paul. And last but not least, I just want to say out of respect for him, I would remind him … I never said anything about why he left Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Sacramento, it goes on and on. I’ll just leave it at that.
Mike Trudell: LeBron after practice today: “It’s going to take awhile for us to learn each other … it’s going to take longer than 10 games … We have to get better every day.” Noted how they still don’t know each other as closely as most of the Western teams who’ve had core players intact.
With the Los Angeles Lakers preparing to play their first game since news emerged of coach Luke Walton's explosive meeting with president of basketball of operations Magic Johnson, LeBron James said his focus -- and his team's -- remains solely on winning. "It doesn't bother me at all because I don't pay attention to it, I don't listen to it," James said Saturday in advance of the Lakers' game against the Portland Trail Blazers when asked about the noise surrounding his team
"It actually never even gets to me really, so it's not a big deal for us," James continued. "We need to figure out how we can string together some great games or even good games and bring our win total from where it is now. Because that's the business we're in. That's the only thing we want to do. We want to be as good a team as we can be and win ball games."
Ball and Kuzma were said to have had an understanding the song was purely for entertainment. Nonetheless, the Lakers reportedly asked the players to scale back on their presence on social media and scale back with the extracurricular activities. It’s a sentiment Hart voiced to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk: “We are 22, 23-year-old kids, we are just taking little subtle jabs and that kind of thing,” Hart said as he and LA Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell hosted a free screening of “Uncle Drew” for 200 local youth from local nonprofits like Brotherhood Crusade, Boys and Girls Club Venice and The Right Way Foundation in Los Angeles. “It is nothing more than that. We are all close off the court. And that is all it is, just messing around, having fun. We are cool off the court, we are cool on the court. That wasn’t anything.”
Brook Lopez admitted Thursday that he covered his head with a towel to vent and hide his emotions with his frustration over losing and wanting to play. Lopez left the bench shortly after that for a bathroom break but returned quickly and rooted on his teammates from the bench.
"On the court, I can be very visible, with my emotions [showing on my face]," Lopez said. "So yeah, just trying to control myself, breathe a little bit, and just keep cool because it was an unfortunate game for us. Just watching it, it was tough to be out there. Just trying to get settled a little bit."
While Lopez has not been the fit that he and the Lakers thought it could be thus far, the center says he has not had any discussions with his agent, Darren Matsubara, about the possibility of a buyout if his playing situation gets worse. "Obviously I realize it's a contract year," the California native said. "I realize my value, not just monetary value whether I would like it to be, I'd love it to be, [but] obviously, [Los Angeles is] home for me. I realize I'm in a contract year, but I'm not super concerned about it."
Tania Ganguli: Brook Lopez waved off reporters postgame. He played 9 minutes tonight, including 1:33 in the 2nd half. During the 4th he looked upset, covered his head with a towel, rubbed his eyes with it, and got up and walked off the court at the next time out, returning shortly thereafter.
Ryan Ward: Brandon Ingram: "It's kind of depressing because we think we're a better team than last year. We know we can be better every single night, but we also know it's a process. Everything is not going to be good all the time.” #Lakers
Bob Garcia: Luke Walton on team meeting: "It was just a creative way of trying to grow and get better that day." Also noted that having both Ingram and Kuzma dealing with injuries made it a easier choice to have a team meeting. #Lakers #lakeshow
"The choice is the Lakers," she says crisply. Whatever emotion she'd felt these past few months is long gone from her voice. The emotional sludge underlying this family drama isn't a few months old. It's 50 years old. The last three months were just the final act in a play that's been running their whole lives. "I'm really proud of my sister for putting her business hat on," Janie Buss says. "I know how hard it was. My dad's dying wish was to leave the Lakers to all of us and that we would all get along. He'd be sickened if he saw what was going on with my older brothers." (Neither Jim nor Johnny, through his lawyer, responded to repeated requests for comment.)
Jim resigned as a co-trustee and was replaced by Janie, who firmly supported her older sister; the balance of power, and with it the ability to control the management of the trust, had now shifted firmly toward Jeanie. And on April 3, the court formally granted Jeanie's petition to compel the three trustees -- now Jeanie, Janie and Johnny -- to do everything reasonable within their power to ensure she remains the Lakers' controlling owner and a board member for the rest of her life. The war was over with nary a whimper. "This was not what [Dr. Buss] wanted," Jeanie says. "But he did empower me that if there was ever a threat, that I had the power and authority to do this."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers assistant GM Glenn Carraro has resigned, league sources tell @The Vertical. Carraro had been with franchise since 2000.
Ramona Shelburne: Jeanie Buss tells ESPN: "It's great that we were able to work this out so fast. We've resolved everything clearly and cleanly and now we can get back to work. Laker fans deserve success - and now we can focus again on bringing it to them. "I'm also very happy that my sister Janie is becoming a Trustee of my family's Trust. I love her, I trust her and I'm excited to work alongside her."
Ramona Shelburne: Jeanie Buss: "Now we can get back to work. Laker fans deserve success - and now we can focus again on bringing it to them."
Ramona Shelburne: Jeanie Buss: "I'm also very happy that my sister Janie is becoming a Trustee. I love her, I trust her and I'm excited to work alongside her
Four years after the death of the legendary Jerry Buss, his daughter finally, formally emerged Monday as the powerful leader of Los Angeles’ most powerful sports franchise. The Lakers are now Jeanie Buss’ team. It’s official, it’s indisputable, and it’s for as long as she wants.
Jeanie and brothers Jim and Johnny agreed to a legal stipulation, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, that Jeanie will serve as the Lakers’ controlling owner for as long as the Buss family owns the team. At the same time, Jim, who led the recent attack on Jeanie’s throne, agreed to resign as one of three trustees, surrendering that position to sister Janie, who is Jeanie’s ally. The third trustee is still Johnny, who was also part of the coup but can now count on being outvoted if he decides to challenge his sister again.
Once the Lakers gathered in the locker room, Coach Luke Walton did not just express his displeasure with his team’s play. He became so disgusted with the Lakers’ 30-point halftime deficit to the Clippers on Tuesday that he informed his starters they would begin the second half on the bench. Walton then turned to rookie forward Brandon Ingram. “It (stinks) for you that you have to sit out, too,” Walton said. “You’re out there playing your tail off.”
Last April, Gary Vitti retired from his full-time post as the NBA’s longest-tenured head athletic trainer, but he signed on to remain a consultant for two more seasons, in part to continue researching new technologies that might help not just heal injuries but hopefully prevent them altogether.
But ever since the team’s dramatic front-office overhaul Feb. 21, when Lakers governor Jeanie Buss fired her brother, Jim, and general manager Mitch Kupchak and promoted Johnson to president of basketball operations, Vitti has been noticeably absent. According to sources close to the franchise, prior to Feb. 21, Vitti had been seen at every home game save for one and at the facility about four days a week when the team wasn’t on the road -- but since the regime change, those sources say, Vitti hasn’t been seen at any games, practices, anything.
Vitti issued the following comment to ESPN regarding his status with the Lakers: “I worked more than half of my life for the Lakers, and I can honestly look at myself in the mirror and say I gave every ounce that I had every day. I will forever be grateful to [the late Lakers owner and patriarch] Dr. [Jerry] Buss, a man I believe exemplified what I believe to be the trifecta of the most important human values: honesty, kindness and loyalty. Going forward, it's not my team so Jeanie can do what she thinks is best.”
Mark Medina: Lakers trail 70-40 at halftime. Can't imagine a there's whole other half to play
Mike Trudell: Down 30 at the half, Luke Walton pulled the entire starting line up and is opening the 3rd Q with Ennis, Nwaba, Brewer, Robinson and Black.
“She’s got by far the strongest side of the argument,” the person said. “She needs to press her advantage, clarify this and get it out of the way. “Ultimately, it comes down to money. If somebody wanted to buy the brothers out, I’m sure there’s a price.”
A person with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition they not be identified said the tension between the siblings has been building since last fall. The person said scenarios including buying out the brothers’ stakes in the team or borrowing money on their behalf were discussed before the matter became public.
The person with direct knowledge of the situation called the $25-million distribution “highly unusual.” Among the other action items: amending the bylaws to indemnify directors and barring the controlling owner and others from purging emails.
Cuban admitted feeling joy in Lakers president Jeanie Buss thwarting an effort from her brothers, Jim and Johnny, in voting her off the team’s board of directors and stripping away her power as the team’s acting governor. “The worse it is, the better for me,” Cuban said before the Lakers visited the Mavericks on Tuesday at American Airlines Center. “There’s no NBA thing involved. We survived the other franchise going through some hell that didn’t begin to rival what may be going on. The more turmoil with 29 other teams, the happier I am.”
Storyline: Los Angeles Lakers Turmoil?
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July 3, 2022 | 3:20 pm EDT Update

LeBron James lobbying hard to get Kyrie Irving on the Lakers

Brooklyn insists that talks are only preliminary at this point, but Chris Haynes’ report Saturday that the Nets and Lakers have discussed a Kyrie Irving trade only fueled what is already a widespread expectation that Irving is destined to end up with the Lakers. I certainly believe that, too. I know Irving has been in Los Angeles this week, but that’s not the source of my confidence. It stems from repeated rumbles in circulation that LeBron James is rooting hard for Irving’s addition to the roster. James, I’m told, wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone. What other team, furthermore, has a LeBron-sized personality with the experience to cope with all the chaos that comes with adding Kyrie? James, remember, has often thrived in chaos.
The problem is that Mitchell is unavailable to the Nets for the same primary reason as many top young stars: Brooklyn is ineligible to trade for Mitchell as long as Ben Simmons is on the roster. League rules preclude one team from employing two players on “designated rookie” contracts acquired via trade. Another considerable obstacle: Utah, for now, has been adamant that it won’t trade Mitchell. One nonetheless suspects that the Jazz, for all their messaging about wanting to reload around Mitchell, would eventually be willing to trade Mitchell in the proverbial “right” deal if the Nets suddenly no longer had Simmons (or were shipping him out in the same trade). Something to file away if a multi-team Durant deal doesn’t materialize immediately.
July 3, 2022 | 1:59 pm EDT Update

Celtics, Sam Hauser agree to three-year deal

Second-year forward Sam Hauser has agreed to a three-year contract with the Celtics worth approximately $6 million, a league source told the Globe on Sunday. The first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed, the source said. The Celtics signed the sharpshooter from Virginia to a two-way contract last summer, and in February the deal was converted to an NBA contract after a collection of trades opened up several roster spots. Last week, Boston declined Hauser’s $1.6 million option for next season and made him a restricted free agent, making this multi-year deal possible.