It wasn’t a new critique. When Hurts played for Averion at Channelview High School in Houston, a rival coach once told his father, Your son is the real deal, but he’s got to show other kids emotion so they play harder.
Nothing outlandish. Just a quiet show of confidence. He stared straight ahead, wiped himself down and moved along.
Averion laughed and thought of a different conversation he had with Saban about getting Hurts to show his emotions. Ultimately, he had to convince Saban to meet them halfway. You’re going to have to let him be him, Averion said.
Another example: James made a habit of referring to Irving as the kid. You can see Irving’s visible frustration here when a pool reporter asks what kind of father figure James has been to him.
According to MacMullan, some of his Cavaliers teammates said Irving took being referred to as the kid as a subtle lack of respect, though it’s unclear whether that is the reason he requested a trade.
When the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, Irving was the one who pushed for an exit interview first, according to MacMullan. But Griffin’s contract expired June 19, leaving the Cavaliers GM-less for 36 days — including two weeks of wining and dining Chauncey Billups — before naming Koby Altman the new GM.
For over a month, Irving had no one to talk to.
James and Irving didn’t see eye-to-eye on some things, but it doesn’t seem all the parties involved had a chance to sit down and discuss their grievances with one another. Had that happened, the ending to this story could have been a bit different.
But that game … well, at least the Bruins got a participation ribbon. The Canadiens, with backup goalie and Massachusetts native Mike Condon in net, built a 3-0 lead by the 17:20 mark of the second period, and that was that. At an unremarkable venue with unremarkable weather, and with a Canadian market in an unremarkable game, this was the lowest-rated Winter Classic to date in the U.S.
He seems unperturbed by the latest brouhaha. He said (pretty close to) the right things when asked about it on Sunday. As noted, the Lakers are refusing to comment. This is the perfect tone to take. If the Lakers commented on this or any other LaVar broadside, they’d have to comment on all of them. Better to ignore the nonsense from the start.
Walton is smart and chill. He too said all the right things before L.A.’s Sunday game against the Hawks, a win that snapped a nine-game losing streak. He focused his concern not on LaVar’s black hole ego, but on the impact on Lonzo. Walton’s concern wasn’t with how this kerfuffle affects him or his status, but how it affects his star rookie.