Isaiah Thomas has thrived in the NBA despite being just 5-foot-9 and the last pick of the 2011 draft, because he carries a huge chip on his shoulder. Julius Randle has developed even more of a mean streak this season, as the Lakers have left his future in doubt amid their pursuit of star free agents.
So, it’s not terribly surprising the headstrong teammates got into a heated exchange in the midst of competition during a loss to the Warriors last night.
But most disagreeing teammates restrain themselves from such overt confrontation when cameras are around. That Randle and Thomas didn’t shows this incident rose a level higher.
How much higher? Probably not much.
Randle, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN
“Ah, man. It was great, honestly,” Randle explained when asked what happened. “We expect a lot out of each other and it was just communicating, man. We want to win, we expect to win these games and we expect each other to play at a certain level, so it was just us being teammates. There’s nobody I’d rather go to war with than IT. So it’s nothing personal, we’re just trying to get the best out of each other and win the game.”
Thomas, via Youngmisuk:
“Nothing,” Thomas said when asked what happened with Randle. “Just two basketball players competing. That’s all it was. Happy to be yelling. ... We want the best for each other, we just want to win. We’re two leaders on the team that we’re competing on and it was a misunderstanding at one point and we talked about it and we’re good. As teammates should.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton, via Youngmisuk:
“I didn’t see what it was about; I like it though,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “I told them afterward, I love it. As long as they’re open-minded and whatever they were arguing about, they get it figured out. We have been trying to get our guys to talk [on defense] all year long and if it is a heated conversation, that means it is two people that are passionate about something and we will take that on our team any day.”
This was something. But it sure sounds as if it won’t linger as something negative.