D'Angelo Russell and Byron Scott did not get along.
Like 95 percent of screwed up relationships, both parties shared blame in this one. Russell came in with an ego and was not putting in the work the team wanted to see. Scott responded to this with old-school discipline — benching Russell — and not communicating why. This led to a downward spiral, both of their relationship and the Lakers last season.
Luke Walton relates to players. How good a head coach he will be remains to be seen, but he was a player and is not old enough to have reached Scott’s “get off my lawn” level of distaste for the players entering the league. Check out what Russell told Serena Winters of Lakers’ Nation about his relationship with the new Laker coach.
“He’s one of the best people I know, as far as off the court,” Russell said of his new head coach on Wednesday. “We communicate on and off the court as much as possible. I feel like I can call him anytime. He’s not like a head coach that will sit back and just watch his other coaches and colleagues just train other players, he’s always involved.
“He’ll get out there and play with you if he wants. It’s just great to have a young coach like him in the building.”
Walton comes from being a hands-on assistant in Golden State and still has that approach. He wants to teach, he wants to be part of everything. He’s younger, he probably has Pokémon GO on his phone, and he is an open communicator.
The real test is how Russell feels about Walton the first time Walton disciplines him. It’s easy to be buddies before camp opens.
We don’t know how good Walton the coach will be, but he is someone connecting with the young Laker players. And that is a good start for a Laker team that has a few more years of development and building to get where they want to be.
Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.
One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.
Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.
As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.
But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.
Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.
When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.
Not with his father.
The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.
That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!
Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.
Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.
Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.
I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.
But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.