As they continue to struggle and be involved in trade rumors before the February NBA trade, drama and frustrations have started to build around the Los Angeles Lakers. After suffering a 115-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at the Oracle Arena, several Lakers’ veterans, including Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee, reportedly had an emotionally charged verbal altercation with Coach Luke Walton in the locker room.
The confrontation started when Coach Luke Walton called out players who weren’t playing “unselfishly.” The veterans “snapped back” and were separated before the incident resulted in a physical altercation. Days after the incident, Michael Beasley decided to break his silence and denied that there is bad blood existing between him, Walton, and his teammates.
“This past Saturday after the Warriors game, Coach Walton and our team had a conversation after a tough loss. Despite reports to the contrary, there was nothing physical between Coach Walton, me, or any other teammate,” Beasley said, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “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.”
Luke Walton, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee all downplayed the reported confrontation that happened in the Lakers’ locker room over the weekend, with Beasley saying "I respect Luke and I respect this team." https://t.co/gl11z7LTH3 pic.twitter.com/0O6zcdVBMJ— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) February 6, 2019
Lakers veteran center JaVale McGee also refuted the reports that he’s involved in a combative verbal exchange directed at Coach Luke Walton, calling it “fake news.” On Twitter, Kyle Goon of Southern California News Group released Walton’s statement about the postgame incident. Walton doesn’t consider the issue as a “big thing” and said they are only trying to do what is best for their team.
“We address it, because that’s how I believe our culture should be. We’ll talk about everything that needs to be.”
The Lakers may already have moved on from the incident, but rumors and drama are still expected to surround them until they start playing again like a true Western Conference contender. After being hit by multiple injuries, the Lakers struggled on both ends of the floor and are currently out of the playoff race. As of now, the Lakers are sitting in the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference with a 27-27 record.
The Lakers succeeded to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers in LeBron James’ first game since returning from a groin injury. Unfortunately, on Tuesday night, the Lakers suffered an embarrassing 42-point loss from the hands of the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers. The Lakers have already pulled out of the trade negotiation with the New Orleans Pelicans involving Anthony Davis, but they still continue to find ways to improve their roster before the February NBA trade deadline.