Bernerd closes in on Chelsfield MBO

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New Lakers coach Luke Walton stays focused on helping Warriors repeat

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “His input here is still super valuable,” said Bruce Fraser, a player development assistant.Wearing a navy suit and a gold patterned tie, Walton positioned himself Wednesday in his familiar seat, to Kerr’s left flank. When Klay Thompson buried a first quarter 3-pointer, Walton pumped his fist as if banging a gavel. Several possessions later, when Stephen Curry and Draymond Green mucked up a fast-break attempt and caused a turnover, Kerr threw up his hands and looked to Walton for an explanation.A former forward who played for the Lakers from 2003-12 and won a pair of championships with the organization, Walton has declined interviews since the Lakers announced he had been hired to replace Byron Scott. Walton does not want to give the slightest implication that he is at all distracted from the Warriors postseason run.Of course, it’s impossible for Walton to completely ignore his pending responsibilities. He has been talking to candidates to join his coaching staff, including former Lakers assistant Brian Shaw.Assembling a staff is one of the most important Lakers-related tasks facing Walton right now. May is not an especially busy month for the head coach of a non-playoff team. Note that the Lakers did not sign Byron Scott to a contract in 2014 until the end of July. But hiring a lead assistant – Shaw apparently remains Walton’s top choice – would give him a proxy at pre-draft workouts, a fact noted by NBA.com’s David Aldridge this week. Luke Walton stood on the outer edge of the huddle, bending his 6-foot-8 frame to listen as Steve Kerr gave the Golden State Warriors their final pregame instructions.Before Kerr finished, Walton peeled off from the group, and wandered toward center court, where he planted himself to be the last to give Warriors players high-fives and fist bumps as they took the floor for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.Walton has no more than a dozen games left as a Warriors assistant, before this season ends either with a second championship or without, and he officially becomes the next coach of the Lakers.Until that time, Walton remains focused on his job in Oakland, advising Kerr on tactical adjustments, working with players and scrutinizing film. The Warriors are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Game 3 on Sunday.center_img Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said earlier this month that when he and Walton spoke, it was either early in the morning or late at night so Walton’s days could be “solely committed” to the Warriors.“At this time,” Kupchak said, “if he and I can speak for three or four minutes a day, or text once or twice, that’s a good day.”Walton will be stepping into a whole new dynamic with the Lakers, a young team still light on identity but bursting with potential. The roster is expected to be heavily revamped, and the team, which landed the No. 2 pick in the draft, will eventually need to hold workouts with Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons.If these things are weighing on Walton, he has masked it well. Even around the colleagues who know him best.“That wouldn’t be Luke,” Fraser said. “I kind of laugh to myself that when he leaves here he’s going … He doesn’t lead you to believe it, but he’s been on the phone with Mitch and doing other things. But he’s pretty focused on finishing this out the right way.”The Warriors, however, have continued to have fun at Walton’s expense.Kerr captains a laid-back operation — into which Walton fits perfectly – and film session meetings often include footage of a Warriors blunder. A team with 73 wins makes just enough for it to be funny.After he was hired April 29, Walton walked into one such meeting during the Warriors second-round series against Portland, settled into his seat and watched as the first four clips were all of the dreadful Lakers.Walton’s new team.“The guys just go bananas,” assistant coach Ron Adams said. “We’re always kidding about that now.”There may have been no better opportunity for such teasing then on Tuesday, with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and the Lakers sweating out the draft lottery. The stakes were high. If the Lakers’ pick fell out of the top three, it would be sent to Philadelphia, depriving the Lakers of a much-needed asset.Walton mentioned to Adams that Warriors people should wish him luck. Adams shot back, “You’re a rival of ours. I hope you get the worst pick available.”Shortly before the draft positions were drawn in a hotel ballroom in New York, Warriors vice president of public relations Raymond Ridder sent Walton a text message saying that he had heard the terrible news. The Lakers, he told Walton, had fallen to fourth in the lottery.Walton quickly sent a panicked reply.Wait, what?The next message Walton received from Ridder, in his 14th year as a Warriors executive, was a series of smiling emojis. He’d been duped.Soon after, nearly 3,000 miles away, four pingpong balls were vacuumed, one by one, through the top of a glass drum.The combination of balls numbered 2, 3, 7 and 14 meant the Lakers would not only keep their draft selection in June, but pick second. It was the organization’s first win since Walton came on board.The new coach of the Lakers couldn’t spend much time celebrating, nor being sore over Ridder’s well-time prank.The Warriors had a game the next day.last_img read more

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Kareem Hunt video: NFL investigation into assault still impacts Browns RB

first_imgWill Kareem Hunt be suspended?The NFL stipulates a suspension of at least six games for first-time offenses involving assault, meaning the league could (and likely will) still impose a suspension upon the Browns running back once its investigation is complete.The league placed Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt List, for which the policy states, “In cases in which a violation relating to a crime of violence is suspected but further investigation is required, the commissioner may determine to place a player on the Commissioner Exempt List on a limited and temporary basis to permit the league to conduct an investigation. Based on the results of this investigation, the player may be returned to duty, be placed on the Commissioner Exempt List for a longer period, or be subject to discipline.”Now with the Browns, Hunt is expected to remain on the Commissioner Exempt List as the league continues its investigation into all three off-field incidents. (Editor’s note: This story was updated from its orginal version after the Browns announced they signed Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11, 2019. Hunt remains under investigation and could still be suspended by the NFL.)A video that appears to show Browns running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman at a hotel in February 2018 was released by TMZ in early December. Hunt, who played for the Chiefs at the time, was cut by Kansas City soon after the video surfaced. In footage captured by security cameras, Hunt, 23, can be seen from multiple angles trying to physically attack a woman, pushing through several men and other women attempting to restrain him. At one point, Hunt knocked one of the men into a woman, causing them both to fall over.Police responded to the altercation, which occurred inside a hotel in Cleveland. No arrests were made, and Hunt did not face criminal charges.MORE KAREEM HUNT: How the NFL failed under its own policyThe Feb. 10 incident was known to the NFL, Chiefs team personnel and the public based on earlier reporting. Hunt addressed reporters about the accusations and a separate assault allegation prior to the 2018 NFL season, but the video had not been made public until TMZ released it.Shorly after the video surfaced, the NFL announced it had placed Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt List and would resume its investigation into the Feb. 10 incident, plus the separate assault allegation and, after a TMZ report made it known to the league, a third off-field incident that took place at a nightclub in January.Hunt may not play, practice or attend games while on the Commissioner Exempt List.What do we know about the Kareem Hunt video incident?The incident that was captured by surveillance and released by TMZ occurred Feb. 10 between Hunt and Abigail Ottinger, 19, inside The Metropolitan at the 9, a hotel in downtown Cleveland. Ottinger told police Hunt assaulted her about 3:45 a.m. outside a hotel apartment, according to Cleveland.com.One police report listed Hunt as a suspect; another police report listed Ottinger as a suspect for allegedly assaulting another woman present at the scene, the Cleveland.com report said. Ottinger told police she refused to have sex with a friend of Hunt, which set off the scuffle. Other witnesses claimed Ottinger used a racist slur toward Hunt.Charges were not filed, and no arrests were made “because officers say they were unable to determine if a crime had been committed,” according to TMZ.How has the NFL responded to the Kareem Hunt video incident?The Chiefs claimed they did not see the footage until it was released, according to The Athletic, but several members of the organization had previously commented on the incident, mostly in an attempt to move on from the situation. Team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in August, “The team’s made up of a bunch of young men. . . . They’re not always going to make the best decisions, but we have a strong support system, both with the coaching staff and also with our player development department that works with young guys and talks to them about the situations that they want to be in.”At the time, Clark Hunt did not believe Kareem Hunt would face a suspension from the NFL. Chiefs coach Andy Reid declined to comment on the specifics of the incident when asked about it in June.Kareem Hunt also addressed the incident with reporters in August, saying he had “learned from it” and was “focused on football.” After he was signed by Cleveland in February, Hunt released a statement:Statement from RB Kareem Hunt: pic.twitter.com/JPRFnkRdCy— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019In December, ESPN reported the NFL felt it did “everything possible from a legal standpoint” in its investigation into the incident. However, according to the report, the NFL never requested an interview with Hunt as part of its investigation. The league reportedly attempted to contact Ottinger and her friend “on multiple occasions, but they did not respond.”Also per ESPN, “the league said it spoke to as many witnesses who were there as possible and that they said Hunt was not involved, which the video that TMZ released Friday clearly contradicts.” The NFL in its investigation reportedly spoke to the Chiefs following their conversation with Hunt about the incident.Pro Football Talk reported that “the league made multiple attempts to obtain the video. … The hotel at which the incident occurred explained to the NFL that it would give the video only to law enforcement. … The Cleveland Police Department did not provide any video to the league.”After the Browns signed Hunt in February, they released a statement from general manager John Dorsey:Statement from GM John Dorsey: pic.twitter.com/TUgoBalvkg— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019What is the NFL’s personal conduct policy?The NFL’s personal conduct policy explicitly grants the league freedom to punish players even if they are not found guilty of a crime.According to the policy, “Even if the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, players found to have engaged in any of the following conduct will be subject to discipline.” It lists “actual or threatened violence against another person” and “disorderly conduct” among potential reasons for sanctions.last_img read more

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