Lakers Met with LaVar Ball to Request He 'Tone Down' Luke Walton Criticism

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

LaVar Ball, father of Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball, watches the Lakers play the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

LaVar Ball's outspoken nature recently landed him a meeting with members of the Los Angeles Lakers front office.

Per ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, Lakers team president Earvin "Magic" Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka met with Ball to ask him to "tone down" his public criticism of head coach Luke Walton.

Ball told Shelburne he is just trying to do what is best for his son, Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.

"It was the best thing, man," he said. "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."

During an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Dec. 5, Ball was critical of the way Walton chooses to sub his son in and out of games.

"Luke Walton is doing what he's doing, playing Lonzo in and out," he said (via Gabrielle McMillen of Sporting News). "Play him a few minutes here, then wonder why his legs are tore up. (It's because) they run him 100 miles an hour, then shut him down for 10 minutes."

Shelburne noted one insider for the Lakers said the overall message to Ball was "they've tried to keep their relationship positive, while still allowing him to speak his mind, and they'd prefer he did the same."

Lonzo has struggled out of the gate with the Lakers. Heading into Tuesday, the 20-year-old was averaging only 8.6 points per game while shooting 32.1 percent, though he's been productive in other ways with 7.1 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game.

The Lakers have put their hopes in Lonzo developing into their franchise point guard. LaVar is going to be his son's biggest cheerleader, but the team needs to make sure it doesn't come at its expense.

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