When Danny Green laid down for his pregame nap on Wednesday, he was expecting to play a playoff game for the Lakers that evening. When he woke up to frantic knocking at his door, he found out he’d instead be heading for a night with even higher stakes than a playoff matchup: The Milwaukee Bucks had led a wildcat strike before their game against the Orlando Magic, and now the players in the bubble were having a meeting to discuss what all of them should do next.
A lot of rumors have come out about that meeting in the days since, from reports that Lakers star LeBron James voted to cancel the season and led his team out of the room, to word that James and other players voiced their frustrations with the Bucks for starting their protest without a plan for what they wanted to get out of it, among other anecdotes.
But according to Green — the first and only Laker to speak publicly since — a lot of the stories that have come out about those sessions aren’t completely accurate.
“I don’t know how all of that stuff gets out so fast, and not all of it’s correct information,” Green said after practice on Friday.
When pressed on what specific stories were inaccurate, though, Green declined to say.
“I mean, I don’t know what you guys have heard. I’ve heard many different stories of ‘LeBron said this, LeBron did that,’ (or) ‘so and so did this, so and so said that,’” Green said. “Most of it was untrue. I don’t know what you’ve heard and what you think is true or not, everybody has different opinions.”
Reading between the lines of what Green had to say, though, you could get a sense of what parts he felt were accurate, and which weren’t. Green said that before heading to the meeting for all of the players, the Lakers got together and had their own meeting and reached a consensus as a group. He says that “things got heated” in the meeting with all of the players in the bubble when votes were taken, at which point he said the session had been going on almost three hours. At that point, when tempers started to run high, some players went to go take a break to grab food and use the bathroom, Green said, and then continued meeting into the night.
Putting together the puzzle pieces, it’s not hard to read that as a soft rebuttal of the reporting that James and the Lakers stormed out. Perhaps they left, but Green seems to be indicating — without directly contradicting the earlier report — that their reason for doing so was much less dramatic than it was initially painted.
That said, it’s possible other players in the meeting — like, say, the ones who leaked that detail — may have seen events differently. Whatever the case may be, Green said that players continued meeting into the night, and that it was like there were several meetings before they all ultimately came together the next day and voted to continue the NBA playoffs.
“It wasn’t as crazy as everybody made it seem. (The) details aren’t as drastic,” Green said.
However, part of Green’s rebuttal, when put in the context of Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports’ detailed report on the two days of negotiations, was particularly interesting.
“The things you’ve heard that certain people said that were negative weren’t like that. But there were some things said. Some people felt that there was some disrespect going on. And it was checked,” Green said.
Does that sequence of events sound familiar? Let’s compare it to one specific note in Haynes’ story.
Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players’ union, asked to have the floor to speak about the financial ramifications of leaving Orlando.
While she was going over the numbers, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley abruptly interrupted her, saying he disagreed with her logic, sources said. Roberts kindly reiterated that these were potential losses the players would suffer, and Beverley interrupted again.
Roberts asked politely if she could continue with her point, and Beverley responded, “No, I pay your salary,” sources said.
This caused an uproar with Paul, Haslem and others, who intervened and told Beverley that disrespect would not be tolerated, sources said.
Is Green specifically confirming that anecdote? Saying it was partially but not wholly accurate? It’s not entirely clear, and for what it’s worth, it’s been disputed by at least a few people in the room: Ivica Zubac, who sent the tweet below, and Lakers two-way player Devontae Cacok, who retweeted it.
I don’t know who leaks this stuff, but Pat never said anything like this... ♂️ https://t.co/HYyUuugekL— Ivica Zubac (@ivicazubac) August 28, 2020
Whatever the case may be, we should all just take a moment to acknowledge that when we get information like all of the stories presented in this piece, all of us have to remember that there is a reason it got out: Someone wanted us to know about it. Green and Zubac want us to know their version of events, and some people who weren’t willing to put their names to it wanted Haynes (and by extension, us) to know the story about Beverley, and people told similar anonymous stories of various tones about LeBron because they wanted them out there.
None of this means that any of them aren’t true, for all I know, they could all be mostly accurate. But none of us who weren’t there know exactly what went down in that room, and all of the conflicting stories make it seem unlikely we ever will. And really, the only thing that matters is what came out of it, which was substantial action from the NBA. That’s what we should probably focus on, rather than the gossip of how we ended up here.