Luke Walton is already coaching for his job. Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson informed Walton of this reality in a meeting Tuesday, ESPN reported.
Oct 29, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton in the second quarter against Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Walton said Friday that closed-door discussions are not for public consumption, but he denied anything has changed this week.
“We’ve played some good teams and we’ve had a chance to win a lot of those games,” said Walton, whose team opened the season 3-5 amid rising expectations following the arrival of LeBron James in July. “I’ve got enough going on. My message to the players was, ‘We know this was going to happen.’ Every time we go on a losing streak, these stories are going to be out there.
ESPN reported Johnson has been heavy-handed in his approach to Walton behind the scenes despite owner Jeanie Buss supporting the former Golden State Warriors assistant, who played for the Lakers during Kobe Bryant’s heyday.
—Paul George is playing with a nerve issue in his left foot, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward disclosed after he scored a season-low 11 points Thursday.
“A lot of people don’t know, but I got a peroneal nerve palsy,” George said. “For everyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s a dead foot term. So it’s just trying to play through that. It’s nothing that’s major, it’s nothing that’s going to hurt me. It’s just something that’s going to come back when it feels right.”
George missed 16 of his 20 shot attempts and scored 11 points but was still productive in 39 minutes, posting 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks in Oklahoma City’s 111-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.
—Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent surgery Friday on his left foot and will be re-evaluated in approximately six weeks, the team announced.
The surgery occurred at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley. The Cavs said Love, 30, “will now undergo an extended period of treatment and rehabilitation.”
A five-time All-Star who signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension this summer, Love is averaging 19 points and 13.5 rebounds a game in just four games this season. He said earlier this week that the injury to his left big toe has caused “significant” pain since early October.
—Former Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan is suing the team, citing age discrimination. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, names the team’s holding company, owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman as defendants.
The team did not renew the contract of the 63-year-old Boylan when it expired at the end of June. The Cavaliers hired him in June 2013, and he served under head coaches Mike Brown, David Blatt and Tyronn Lue. The Cavs fired Lue last Sunday.
That was Boylan’s second time around with the Cavaliers, who issued a statement Friday saying they would “seek immediate dismissal of this disappointing, unwarranted and baseless claim.”
—Houston Rockets guard James Harden didn’t play Friday in Brooklyn because of a strained left hamstring but is expected to return Saturday in Chicago.
“I think it’s probable,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of Harden returning against the Bulls, according to the Houston Chronicle. “He had a good practice (on Thursday). The main reason he can’t play (Friday) is because it’s a back-to-back. It would be better for him. He wouldn’t play a back-to-back, anyway, not coming right off what he had. I think that’s the main reason and one extra day is good for him.”
Harden, 29, has missed Houston’s last two games, both losses at home, since suffering the injury on Oct. 24 against Utah. Also, Rockets forward James Ennis will return from injury and start at small forward, making Carmelo Anthony the sixth man.
—Field Level Media