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Stan Van Gundy rips ESPN for reporting LaVar Ball criticism of Walton

Monday - 08/01/2018 19:05
Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy acknowledges the New Orleans Pelicans frontcourt of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis present a unique challenge, Monday, Jan. 8, 2017 in New Orleans. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

NEW ORLEANS — Stan Van Gundy was clear.

He has no problem with LaVar Ball, the controversial father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

The Detroit Pistons coach has a problem with ESPN, which chose to report LaVar Ball’s criticism of Lakers coach Luke Walton, calling it “cheap (expletive).”

“I thought it was a cheap shot and I thought ESPN showed total disrespect,” Van Gundy said Monday at Smoothie King Center, where the Pistons will face the New Orleans Pelicans later in the day.

“I don’t have a problem with LaVar Ball. He’s a grown man. He can voice whatever opinion he wants. I got a problem with ESPN deciding that’s a story.”

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LaVar Ball with son Lonzo Ball on March 4, 2017 after a game at UCLA.

In an interview published over the weekend, LaVar Ball told ESPN.com Walton had lost the team.

“You can see they're not playing for Luke no more,” Ball said. “Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him.”

The story angered Van Gundy because of preseason meetings where it was preached cable networks are league partners and cooperation is expected of coaches.

That means granting on-air talent extra access, agreeing to in-game interviews.

Van Gundy responded by reaching out to Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who is president of the NBA Coaches Association.

Van Gundy also contacted the NBA Players Association and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

In the e-mail, Van Gundy threatened non-cooperation when it comes to the extra access given to TV. ESPN will televise the Jan. 19 matchup with the Pistons and Washington Wizards.

“I'm not meeting with their announcing crew before the game, I'm not doing the in-game interview,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not going to participate in the thing.”

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When pressed if it means he’s threatening to withhold access, Van Gundy said: “I’m not denying them access. I’m not kicking them out of press conferences. They want extra stuff from us and they’re going to treat an NBA coach with that little respect? Then I’m going to choose not to give them extra access"

Van Gundy emphasized media criticism comes with the job. 

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you guys criticizing coaches," Van Gundy said. "You guys cover the team. You’re paid in part to analyze what’s going on. I’ve never had an issue with anybody’s who’s criticized me.”

But LaVar Ball has news value. His antics have dominated media websites for more than a year, with his bombast starting during Lonzo Ball's lone season at UCLA.

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The coaching fraternity appears to agree.

Carlisle, a former Pistons coach, blasted ESPN and LaVar Ball.

"I'm saying that they should look at their sources and do a better job of determining whether they have any merit or any validity. Or are they just blowhard loudmouths?" Carlisle told reporters Sunday. "That's what I'm saying. You got that?"

ESPN analyst and former coach Dick Vitale expressed his disgust on Twitter.

"LaVar Ball uses the media outlets like a yo yo /he gets what he wants PR baby/we enable him to scream his absurd opinions by providing a forum for him.He totally aggravates me more than any other personality in my 39 yrs because he hurts good ppl," Vitale wrote.

Does Van Gundy expect the league or ESPN to address concerns?

“We’ll see what happens," Van Gundy said. "What the league decided to do yesterday was put it on NBA.com.”

No Galloway?

Free agent acquisition Langston Galloway didn't play in two of three games going into Monday night's game against the Pelicans.

The Pistons signed Galloway to a three-year, $21-million deal in July.

“I think the other guys have been playing a little bit better. He’ll get his chance again and I expect that he will play well. He’s help us win games this year and he will help us win more.”

Follow Vince Ellis on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

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Source:

 Key: ESPN, Van Gundy

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