Lakers News: Pelicans' Josh Hart Called Ex-Teammates, Staff to Clear Air

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 11: Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball down court during a NBA game against the Houston Rockets at the Smoothie King Center on November 11, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans' Josh Hart said Sunday night that he called several members of the Los Angeles Lakers to clear the air after he made critical comments about the organization during an episode of his podcast in September.

As Hart told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the section of the podcast in question was supposed to be edited out:

"When my sarcasm, that wasn't supposed to be in that—it was supposed to be cut—was in there, I called some of the people in the [Lakers] front office, I called some of my teammates that I had and made sure they knew that none of this stuff was about you guys.

"I loved my time here. I loved my time here, and I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I love Laker Nation. They show so much love, so much support."

The exchange occurred on the Sept. 6 video version of Hart's LightHarted Podcast with Pelicans teammate Lonzo Ball. On the podcast, Ball was describing Lithuania. 

"Lithuania was very depressing. I went there to go visit (my brothers); I wouldn't do it again..." Ball said. "It's like hella gloomy, nobody smiles, it's like everybody just hates that they're there. I'm like 'Damn.' I had to get out of there, bro."

Hart then joked, "Sounds like L.A. ... No, I'm not talking about the city."

When Ball said he didn't know what Hart was talking about and asked that part of the exchange to be cut, the podcast producer said it would be edited out but said Hart might as well say what he meant since the segment was going to be removed.

The laughing Hart then added, "I was going to say the Lakers organization."

Hart had expressed on Sept. 5 that he wasn't happy he wasn't informed of his trade in the offseason to the Pelicans and found out on social media:

Josh Hart @joshhart

Let’s make this clear. I loved my time in LA and loved my coaches, teammates and training staff. Got nothing but love and respect for the front office

Josh Hart @joshhart

I played my ass off for the purple and gold. Played hurt and never had an excuse. I’m truly grateful to the Lakers organization and I do understand the NBA is a business. But as a player you just want the courtesy of a phone call saying I got traded and not finding out on Twitter

Hart further elaborated on those comments Sunday:

"Obviously, sometimes things happen quickly. But I mean, you have a gist of if something's going to happen. At least that day or something. So just reach out. You know in this league, this is a possibility. Like 'Hey, you're going to get an all-world player [Anthony Davis], I get it. ... Cool. No hard feelings.'

"But all you want is just like a heads up, or even—when the deal is final—to get a call or even get a call just the same day and not find out on Twitter, and not get called, days later."

Hart, 24, spent his first two seasons with the Lakers before he was dealt to the Pelicans in the massive Davis blockbuster trade, joining teammates Ball and Brandon Ingram, along with a slew of draft picks. That deal transformed both franchises, and Hart has played well in New Orleans, averaging career highs in points (12.6), rebounds (6.6), steals (1.4) and minutes per game (27.7).

He's a part of a young core that includes Ball, Ingram and Zion Williamson, though injuries have kept Williamson from playing a single game thus far and have already cost Ball six games, Ingram four contests and Hart seven games.

That has led to a disappointing 6-11 start for the Pelicans ahead of Wednesday's matchup against the 14-2 Lakers. 

The Athletic’s Michael Lee joins “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to discuss the proposed changes to the NBA schedule, the in-play tournament, reseeding for the Finals, Jimmy Butler, and the Philadelphia 76ers.


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