Coach Luke Walton says Lakers have 'moved on' after veterans' criticism

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS -- 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."

Walton challenged his players to play more unselfishly and be smarter with their execution after his team failed to protect a double-digit second-half lead before eventually being thoroughly defeated by the Warriors. Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee in particular took exception to the message and responded by critiquing Walton's rotation and substitution patterns, sources told ESPN.

The confrontation came in a game in which LeBron James was a late scratch because of "load management" and capped a tumultuous week for the Lakers, as just about every player on the roster besides James was linked to trade rumors involving the team's pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

"Part of what we believe in our culture is compassion," Walton continued. "So we totally understand what guys are going through this time of year, all the stuff that's happening. A lot of our guys are on one-year deals, and they all want to play. So we understand all that, but we also understand we got our job to do and what we all signed up to do. So we addressed it, we moved on, and we're looking forward to the matchup [on Tuesday].