In his latest and most audacious effort yet to undermine Lakers coach Luke Walton, LaVar Ball used an interview with ESPN over the weekend to levy an inflammatory claim that Walton had lost control of the locker room.
This sparked a lot of navel-gazing among the basketball media regarding the responsibilities involved in covering such a controversial and outspoken figure like Ball. A more incensed response came from Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who blasted ESPN for allowing Ball a platform to push his personal agenda.
It obviously puts both Lonzo and Walton in an impossible position, and to their credit, each is dealing with it in their own way, Lonzo by being as diplomatic as humanly possible, and Walton by adding some much-needed levity to the situation. But now it appears at least one young Laker star, Kyle Kuzma, is coming to Walton’s defense.
“It’s just a lot of white noise, in a sense,” Kuzma said. “Luke is my guy. I love playing for him. I’m sure most of us love playing for him, too. We just gotta stay locked in as a family…We stand by Luke. I know the front office does.”
So not only does Kuzma attempt to speak for his teammates as a whole, he also appears fairly confident that Walton has the support of upper management. That’s a fairly resounding endorsement.
Still, the ripple effects from Ball’s incendiary comments aren’t over yet. Despite winning on Sunday night, the Lakers have been struggling mightily and Ball has been injured and just generally failing to live up to the enormous expectations placed upon him in no small part due to his father’s brazenness. This talented young Lakers team still has a long way to go, and Ball’s ubiquitous presence will only complicate matters further.