Warm relations between Lakers, Warriors can be traced to their coaches
By Bill Oram
LOS ANGELES — The night started with a practical joke.
A Warriors public relations executive placed a sheet of paper on the dais where Luke Walton addresses the media pregame. The header on the page read: “All-Time Warriors’ Interim Head Coach Winning List.”
It had two entries. “First” was Warriors assistant and former Lakers head coach Mike Brown, who went 12-0 with the Warriors last season. “Last” was Walton, whose 39-4 record in 2016-17 while Steve Kerr was sidelined by health issues, was good for only a .906 winning percentage.
Walton smirked at the joke before saying, “They all go to Steve anyway.”
The warm relations between the two Western Conference rivals can be traced to their coaches. Walton won a championship as an assistant on Kerr’s staff in 2015 and his success as the interim coach likely accelerated his path to the Lakers’ head coaching gig two summers ago.
The two have remained close, speaking throughout the season.
“He’s still pretty close with a lot of our players,” Kerr said. “He’ll ask about our guys and we toss around a few things but yeah, that’s just normal stuff.”
Said Walton: “The times we’ve spoken this year have been more about life things than basketball things. But if I feel the need, I still feel like he’s definitely someone that I will trust and value his opinion on how to get something done.”
Nick Young appeared in 220 games for the Lakers, but when he made his first appearance since signing a one-year, $5.2 million contract with Golden State in the offseason, he received a surprising welcome.
He was booed.
“Nick’s terrible,” Walton joked before the game. “Hopefully Steve puts him on the court tonight so we can kill him.”
A fan favorite when playing for his hometown Lakers, Young resurrected his career in his fourth season with the Lakers, […]