As has seemingly been the case for most of the NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves making headlines for all the wrong reasons on Tuesday. A story by Baxter Holmes of ESPN gave a look inside the tumultuous 2018-19 campaign in the City of Angels, and among the many details was a story about Rich Paul, the agent who represents LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, approaching NBA commissioner Adam Silver at a restaurant.
While there, Paul reportedly told Silver that he did not think then-Lakers coach Luke Walton had what it took to coach James. Here’s the excerpt from the story:
In November, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Maverick Carter, LeBron’s longtime business partner, met for lunch. James’ agent, Rich Paul, was seated at a nearby table, and at one point, approached Silver to complain about Walton, multiple sources familiar with the interaction told ESPN. Paul said he didn’t believe Walton was the right coach for the Lakers. Silver shrugged off the remark and asked whom Paul thought would be the right coach. Paul suggested Tyronn Lue.
It’s one of a few times Paul’s dismay with Walton is mentioned, but the fact that he went to the commissioner is rather interesting. It seems unbelievable, but on Wednesday, Silver appeared on ESPN’s Get Up and confirmed that this interaction did happen, although he didn’t pay it any mind when it occurred.
“Honestly, I hardly remember,” Silver said. “Once it was reported, I had to think back and say, ‘Yeah, it was actually a lunch, I was at a lunch, there were two people sitting there, he was in the same restaurant, he sat down for a second,’ and I think he said something along the lines that, ‘Luke Walton’s not the right guy to coach LeBron.’ And I think my reaction was to shrug my shoulders and maybe say, ‘Who do you think is the right guy to coach?’ And he mentioned a name, and that was that. I think it was all of [a] 30-second conversation, I never thought twice about it.”
Silver went onto say that he believes he doesn’t want to shut people off from approaching him as a commissioner, then made it clear he believed Paul just wanted “to say it out loud, I don’t think he had any expectation that I would repeat it to anybody.”