NBA notebook: Lakers' Walton reportedly will finish season

NBA notebook: Lakers' Walton reportedly will finish season
By Reuters

14/02/2019 at 01:07Updated 14/02/2019 at 01:09

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton "will definitely finish the season," a source close to the situation told the Los Angeles Times.

Walton's status
has been a topic of discussion among fans and the media as the Lakers have
slid to 28-29 in an injury-plagued season.

But the Times on Wednesday cited sources saying Lakers owner Jeanie Buss,
president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob
Pelinka agree that Walton should coach the rest of the season.

Walton is in his third season with the Lakers, finishing 26-56 in 2016-17 and
35-47 in 2017-18 with young rosters. The addition of superstar LeBron James in
the offseason raised expectations, but injuries to James, as well as point
guards Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball, among others, have helped put Los Angeles
on the outside of the playoff picture with 25 games to go.

ESPN reported in late January that James' camp would prefer a coaching change.
Recent results -- such as a 136-94 loss at Indiana on Feb. 5, a 23-point loss
at Philadelphia on Sunday and Tuesday's setback at Atlanta -- have increased
speculation about Walton's leadership.

--Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been fined $25,000 for his
criticism of the officiating in the team's latest loss to the Boston Celtics,
the NBA announced.

"The referees f---ing suck," the All-Star center said during his postgame
press conference on Tuesday. Embiid tallied 23 points and 14 rebounds, but he
was whistled for five personal fouls as Philadelphia fell to 0-3 this season
against Boston.

Embiid's frustration was fueled by a sequence in the closing seconds of
Tuesday's 112-109 loss. He missed a potential game-tying jumper after Boston
center Al Horford appeared to hit his arm. There was no call from the

--Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet had surgery to repair a partial ligament
injury to his left thumb, the team announced. He will need to wear a splint
for about three weeks, and the Raptors will update his condition after that.

Also, as expected, the Raptors signed veteran guard Jeremy Lin for depth at
the position.

In 51 games this season (22 starts), VanVleet is averaging 10.5 points, 4.6
assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game. He has scored in double
figures 30 times this season, including a career-high 30 points in a 119-101
road win over Atlanta on Feb. 7.

-- Enes Kanter joined the Portland Trail Blazers following a split with the
New York Knicks last week. The deal was reported by ESPN and NBA TV and
confirmed by Kanter's agent.

The Lakers were among other suitors for the center.

The 26-year-old Kanter averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds in 44 games with
the Knicks, who released him only minutes after the NBA's trade deadline. He
was in the final year of a four-year, $70 million deal that paid him $18.6
million for the 2018-19 season.

-- One day after Memphis forward Bruno Caboclo's second 10-day contract
expired, the Grizzlies signed the former first-round pick to a multi-year

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reported it would
cover the rest of this season and the 2019-20 season.

Caboclo has averaged 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 21.1 minutes
in 10 games (one start) with Memphis. The 23-year-old Brazilian was the 20th
overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He struggled to
earn playing time with the Raptors and was traded to the Sacramento Kings on
Feb. 8, 2018.

--Field Level Media