Lakers News: Michael Beasley Rejects Reports of Heated Luke Walton Argument

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 7: Michael Beasley #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with head coach Luke Walton during game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on December 7 , 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Lakers veterans Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee denied reports of an incident with head coach Luke Walton following Saturday's loss to the Golden State Warriors.

"This past Saturday after the Warriors game, Coach Walton and our team had a conversation after a tough loss," Beasley said, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. "Despite reports to the contrary, there was nothing physical between Coach Walton, me, or any other teammate. I've sat back in the past when stories have been twisted and misreported, but I won't do that this time. I respect Luke and I respect this team. We are trying to win a championship together."

McGee called such reports "fake news."

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported "several veterans—including Michael Beasley—had an emotionally charged verbal exchange with head coach Luke Walton postgame" that "stopped short of turning physical." He noted Walton asked his players to play unselfishly and some "snapped back."

While Beasley and McGee were quick to clarify they didn't engage in a heated back-and-forth with Walton, the coach's name has been in a number of headlines this season as Los Angeles struggles to remain a factor in the playoff picture.

LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of point guard Lonzo Ball, appeared on the Doug & Wolf show in Arizona and called Walton the "worst coach" his son has ever had. He also said, "Luke Walton turned him into a loser" when talking about the UCLA product.

While controlling owner Jeanie Buss said the coach has the organization's full support while appearing on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe in January, Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reported in November that president of basketball operations Magic Johnson "admonished" him during a meeting.

What's more, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan appeared on the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast (h/t Chicco Nacion of theScore) and said: "It's clear to me, and probably to you, Brian, that LeBron's camp would prefer a coaching change—they're not too subtle about that. Not LeBron, but all the people around LeBron. There's plenty of them and they've made it known."

With Anthony Davis rumors flying prior to Thursday's trade deadline, tensions are surely high within the Lakers organization.

It doesn't help they are just 27-26, which is good enough for 10th place in the Western Conference race. LeBron James missed significant time following a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day, and Ball is out with an ankle injury.

While Los Angeles continues to make headlines off the court amid its struggles, Beasley and McGee were quick to stress a reported altercation with Walton should not be included on the list of storylines.