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Sources: Magic Angry With Walton, Lakers Slow Start

Magic Johnson is reportedly not happy with Luke Walton and the Lakers slow start this season. 

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According to sources close to the Lakers, president Magic Johnson was very upset with head coach Luke Walton and the Lakers 3-5 start to the season during a meeting on Tuesday. Normally, this wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. This is the Los Angeles Lakers after all. But it is a bit surprising as most people involved with the team, and especially Johnson himself, stressed the importance of patience with this Lakers team full of young players, new veterans, and Lebron James.

This season was already going to be a bit a rollercoaster for the Lakers. The added presence of the greatest player in the world alone would cause a lot of exciting highs and stressful lows. But now it seems like they don’t have as much time to develop as a team as we all once thought. And perhaps Walton’s job isn’t nearly as safe as we all once thought.

But, the one big thing working in Walton’s favor, is that so far Lebron James has his back. James has had a history of butting heads with coaches, especially in the first season with a new team (i.e.; his first season in Miami with Erik Spoelstra and his first season back in Cleveland with David Blatt). But coming into his first season with the Lakers, James seemed more willing than ever to just let Walton do his job and let the team develop.

“I think Luke’s trying to figure out what works best,” James said recently. “We knew it was going to be like that from the summer when ‘Zo had the knee surgery. We knew we were going to have a lineup change there. Obviously, we had the unexpected one when we had the suspensions, so we had a lineup change there. … We’ll get to a point where we know how comfortable we need to be with different lineups.”

That endorsement and call for patience by James is huge. And it could end up saving Walton his job. But there’s no denying they have definitely not figured things out yet. And the lineup has already changed plenty over the first 8 games. Let’s just hope, for his own sake, that Walton is able to figure things out sooner than later.

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Wizards Reportedly Willing to Move Wall and Beal

Sources close to the Washington Wizards are reporting that the teal is exploring trading away their two stars, John Wall and Bradley Beal. 

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The Washington Wizards are already off to a terrible start to the 2018 season, with a record of 5-11 as of their loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night. It’s far from what they’ve seen in recent seasons and what they expected going into this season. And after years of trying to build a contender around All-Stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, it seems as if the Wizards might finally be willing to move on and go into full rebuild mode.

League sources told ESPN that other NBA teams have already been giving the impression that the team is willing to hear trade offers for Wall and Beal, along with every other player on their roster for that matter. It may be a tough pill to swallow for Wizards fans, as Wall has been the face of the franchise ever since he was drafted and Beal has been an ideal number 2 playing alongside him. But it really feels like the best decision for Washington. It really feels like time.

The team has made multiple attempts to bring in other stars to play with Wall and Beal. They went after both Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, hoping that young contributors like Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre would be strong enough pieces to validate a deal. But unfortunately, they were never enough. And the Wizards seem to have quickly fallen by the wayside.

Beal might be the more attractive option to most teams. He’s only 25 years old, seems to be perfectly in his prime, and just made his first All-Star appearance. He also has a much more manageable contract that Wall. His extension kicks in next season and will pay him an average of $42 million over the next four seasons. But he also has a very tricky 15 percent trade kicker worked into that deal, which could scare away some teams. But he has been named to five All-Star teams and is reportedly a very well-liked guy within the organization.

So, it looks like it may be a rough couple of seasons for the Wizards and their fans as they attempt this likely rebuild. But it could mean going from a pretender to a contender for any number of other teams that might land either Wall or Beal. When exactly that might happen is the real question, however.

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KD Is Done Talking About The Incident With Draymond

Kevin Durant does not want to talk about his incident with Draymond Green ever again.

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The basketball world was abuzz Monday night after Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Draymond Green had a public fight after the end of regulation in their eventual loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. With only a few seconds left, Green ignored Durant’s call for the ball and a chance and the game-winning shot, only to quickly dribble the ball away and send the game to overtime.

The two were then seen arguing on the bench about the play. And then, the next day, we learned that the argument followed them into the locker room after the game. They, along with others, were reportedly shouting at each other. And while it never got physical, many described it as the most heated moment of this current era of the Golden State Warriors. But now, only 4 days after the incident, Kevin Durant is already done talking about it.

“Don’t ask me about that again.” That’s what Durant told a reporter after being asked about his relationship with Green. “Don’t ask me about that again.” It doesn’t get much more direct than that.

The Warriors delivered another less-than-ideal performance on Thursday night, falling to the reinvigorated Houston Rockets 107-86. And head coach Steve Kerr didn’t try to sugar coat the situation. He knows things are great right now and that the team is not as healthy as they’d like to be.

“We’re banged up a little bit physically and right now we’re banged up spiritually,” Kerr said after the loss to the Rockets. There’s no getting around that. So we’ve got to fill up our cup and get our spirit back, get our energy back, and we’re going to. It’s a long, long season. It’s a tough stretch we’re dealing with, but I know our guys.

“Draymond may not have had his best night tonight, in fact, he played very poorly. But I liked his approach. He was genuine out there. He was competing. Nothing went his way, but I like where he’s heading. And now the rest of the team, we’ve got to all lift our spirits up and get back on the saddle. But we’re going through a little bit of a rough patch.”

And Green agreed with his coach. Especially in reference to the loss to Houston. “We didn’t play our best game. It happens. If those emotions are what caused us to lose that’s my bad, but we’re not panicking or think like, ‘Oh man, we’re not a great team.’ We’re still the best team in the league and we’re going to win more games, a bunch of games, and go win another championship and we’ll be fine.”

Well, there ya go. Despite nearly everyone else that’s not a Warriors player, coach, or fan delighting in the fact that the team might be imploding, it sounds like they all have a pretty strong handle on things. You kind of have to to win two championships in a row. And as much as even I wouldn’t hate to see this dynasty implode a little bit, it’s pretty silly to think that a little argument after one game will be the cause of it.

These guys are champions for a reason. They’re smart and they know how to play the game right. And that all starts with Kerr. He’s in control here and he continues to run this team beautifully. He created a culture in Golden State that every NBA franchise should be trying to emulate. You can point to them signing guys like Durant and Demarcus Cousins all you want, but you still have to have the respect of those superstars to be able to maintain control and maintain consistency. And that’s exactly what Kerr has done with this team.

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Butler Created “Negative Environment,” Says Timberwolves Owner

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said recently that Jimmy Butler created a “negative environment” within the organization after demanding a trade.

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 Jimmy Butler just played his first game with the Philadelphia 76ers (a loss to the Orlando Magic, by the way) and, for the most part, the drama between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Butler is over. For the most part

In multiple interviews over the last few days since the trade was made, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has not held back when talking about the time he and his people “wasted” on trying to keep Butler in Minnesota. Saying that he “spent too much of my time on things that were negative.”

In one interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Taylor elaborated. “To me, I thought we were helpful to him, because he said he wanted to get out of Chicago, so I thought we were helpful. We certainly gave Chicago some really good young players. He came here with expectations that he would help lead the team, not only with scoring, but with his experience that he would share with our young guys and we got behind that.”

And Taylor went further, claiming that Butler might have even “had an agenda.” On that led to the tumultuous situation that clouded the beginning of the season for the Timberwolves. And one that created a “negative environment.”

“It just appeared that they weren’t working together as a team or as a unit the way that they should’ve. I can’t exactly answer why. The only thing that was different that we had was Jimmy’s position of leaving the team.”

And once Taylor started to notice that the “negative environment” was specifically affecting his two stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, he knew he had to make a move and went to work. And while Jimmy Butler is, of course, a huge star that many were sad to see go, don’t sleep on the fact that they picked up Robert Covington and Dario Saric in exchange. These are two players that made great contributions to the 76ers and could create some serious glue for a Timberwolves team that has yet to reach their potential.

And now everyone in the Timberwolves organization can relax and start focusing on what’s really worth focusing on: basketball games. And Taylor knows that he has still provided head coach Tom Thibodeau with a good team that can compete. “OK, you now have your team,” he said, in regards to Thibodeau. “We made the trades. These are guys that you like, and let’s see what we can do.”

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