Apparently, the so-called “LaVar Ball rule” wasn’t enough to silence Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball’s blusterous father. The Lakers had to have a sit-down with the Big Baller Brand founder, too.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka met with LaVar Ball recently, “asking him to tone down some of his public criticisms of head coach Luke Walton and help create a more positive atmosphere around his son,” according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The meeting followed a string of recent criticisms about the Lakers by LaVar. He questioned Walton’s decision to bench Lonzo for fourth quarters, blasted them for “babying” his development and ripped their decision to call a timeout rather than let Lonzo run in the final seconds of a loss to the Warriors.
It also comes as the team began enforcing a rule barring reporters from conducting interviews in an area of the Staples Center where family and friends of players often congregate following games.
While Johnson and Pelinka were mum on the meeting, here’s how LaVar described it to Shelburne:
“It was the best thing, man. Everybody’s going to try to make it an ego thing, like I’m trying to tell them what to do or they’re trying to tell me to tone it down. It’s not about that. It’s about coming together and to get a solution to this problem.
(Wait, what does he think is “this problem”: That Lonzo isn’t being properly motivated or utilized? His son’s abysmal shooting? Or his own loud mouth? I’m not sure the Lakers got their message across.)
“It may sound crazy to other people, but I really just want the best for Lonzo, and the best for Lonzo is going to be what’s best for the organization. Because if everybody’s winning, we good.”
(It does not sound crazy that a father wants what’s best for his son. What we’re not sure about yet is whether “the best for Lonzo is … what’s best for the organization,” since 26 games into his rookie season, the Lakers are 6.1 points per 100 possessions better when their No. 2 overall pick is off the floor. LaVar seems to believe more Lonzo results in more winning, which hasn’t been proven out yet.)
“I’m going to say whatever I want to say, however I want to say it. And they said, ‘LaVar, come and talk to us first.’ So that’s fine, too.
(OK, so maybe we shouldn’t expect LaVar to heed the advice he just got from the Lakers brass, since, in his first opportunity after they asked him to discuss his feelings before going public with them, he told ESPN that he will continue “to say whatever I want to say, however I want to say it.”)
“But I am going to say, to plant a seed, ‘Let’s look for this now.’ They may not want to hear that, but it’s going to be successful if you listen to what I’m saying on that fact, that I know what it takes for my son to run like this.”
(Yeah, LaVar Ball is definitely going to continue publicly criticizing the Lakers.)
Now is a good time to remind you, once again, that LaVar told the Lakers in July, via Shelburne, “As far as training my boy, this is as far as I can take him. I’ll leave it up to you to take him further. You can get him better with the film time and the coaching. You can take him to another level.”
I’m just looking forward to the public criticisms of LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball’s new European coach, who has been described by DraftExpress founder Jonathan Givony as “the LaVar Ball of Lithuania.”
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