LaVar Ball’s penchant for being a walking pull-quote continued, as the Ball Family patriarch didn’t let being stationed in Lithuania prevent him from trashing Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton, again.
“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more,” Ball told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, in a report published Sunday morning. “Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him.”
Ball apparently based his opinion on the oft-used sports cliché of “body language,” after seeing how his son Lonzo Ball and other Lakers players responded on the court during a recent loss.
“Nobody wants to play for him,” Ball added. “I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don’t know why they’re in the game. He’s too young. He’s too young. He ain’t connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he’s not connecting with not one player.”
With a current record of 11-27, the Lakers are dead last in the NBA’s Western Conference standings. To Ball’s point, even Walton has confirmed frustrating Julius Randle with his rotations, but the lack of high-fives may be more than just a matter of Walton’s coaching acumen.
“You would be lying to say that there are guys that are not frustrated on this team,” Andrew Bogut told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk during a December ESPN report. “Everyone knows what is going on with the salary-cap situation next season and all that. That is just distractions that we can’t let affect us. That is part of the league, the business decisions that front offices and coaches make.”
Bogut was waived in one of those business decisions Saturday. And the ever-buzzing NBA rumor mill has no shortage of gossip about the Lakers actively looking to trade Randle and Jordan Clarkson in attempts to court free agents next summer with some available salary-cap space.
There are a number of possible reasons including and beyond Walton’s coaching that have led to the Lakers posting the second-worst record in the entire league. But LaVar Ball isn’t here for nuanced dialogue, as he often opts for the hot take. In this case, he delivered, and you can read the rest of his thoughts about Walton’s perceived incompetence via ESPN.