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Volume 24 No. 155
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Lakers Talk To LaVar Ball Following Interviews Critical Of Team's Coaching Staff

LaVar Ball recently met with Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka and was asked to "tone down the rhetoric" concerning criticism of the coaching staff, according to a source cited by Tania Ganguli of the L.A. TIMES. The move comes after Ball in an interview with Bleacher Report claimed that the Lakers are "too soft" on G Lonzo Ball and "didn’t know how to properly coach him." LaVar Ball said of the Nov. 29 meeting, "It was a good conversation. What I love about (Johnson) is just the communication that we have as a family and as friends to fix the situation they’re just solutions that we throw off each other. That’s all it is." He added, "We’re just talking. We’re trying to do what’s best for the team." Ganguli noted the meeting "did not change the way" Ball talked to reporters, as he conducted a SiriusXM interview just six days later in which he "detailed his concerns with the way Lakers coach Luke Walton was playing Lonzo, including the fact that he should get more playing time in the fourth quarter" (L.A. TIMES, 12/13). A Lakers source said that the "main message to Ball was that they've tried to keep their relationship positive, while still allowing him to speak his mind, and they'd prefer he did the same." Ball said that he "agreed with that characterization, for the most part, and that he told Johnson and Pelinka he understood their position and would try to abide by that request" (ESPN.com, 12/12). ESPN's Ramona Shelburne said, "The Lakers like the drama. In Hollywood, the worst thing you can be is boring. They are fine as long as (Lonzo) plays well on the court. But when you say negative stuff about the teammates and the coach, it creates a negative atmosphere" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 12/13).