Josh Hart: Made calls to Lakers players, staff after derisive remarks

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Monday, November 25, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart said he called some of his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates and front-office staffers to clear up the negative comments he made about the organization on his podcast and on social media in September.

Hart said he never intended those comments to become public, but there was a communication error that resulted in the audio version of the podcast editing those comments out and the video version of the podcast running in full.

In the video version of the Sept. 6 "LightHarted Podcast" with teammate Lonzo Ball, a producer is heard openly discussing cutting the portion of the conversation in which Hart derides the Lakers organization.

Ball says, "Lithuania was very depressing. I went there to go visit [my brothers]; I wouldn't do it again. ... It's like hella gloomy, nobody smiles, it's like everybody just hates that they're there. I'm like 'Damn.' I had to get out of there, bro."

Hart then jokes, "Sounds like L.A. ... No, I'm not talking about the city."

Ball responds, "I don't know what he's talking about. ... Next question. Cut that part out."

At that point the producer says, "We're gonna edit this part out, so you might as well just tell us."

Hart laughs and says, "I was going to say the Lakers organization."

Hart explained his comments on social media after the podcast was released, saying he was upset he didn't receive a heads-up about the trade that sent him, Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks to New Orleans in exchange for Anthony Davis.

The Pelicans were in Los Angeles on Sunday night to play the Clippers, the first time they have been in L.A. since the trade. On Wednesday, New Orleans will host the Lakers in the first meeting between the two teams, since the trade.

"When my sarcasm, that wasn't supposed to be in that -- it was supposed to be cut -- was in there, I called some of the people in the [Lakers] front office, I called some of my teammates that I had and made sure they knew that none of this stuff was about you guys," Hart told ESPN on Sunday night.

"I loved my time here. I loved my time here and I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I love Laker Nation. They show so much love, so much support."

Hart didn't want to specify which people in the Lakers front office he called to clear the air, or who the one person he "had a problem with" was, that he alluded to in a subsequent tweet. But Hart did elaborate on why he was upset that he didn't get a heads-up that he was included in the deal.

"Obviously, sometimes things happen quickly," Hart said. "But I mean, you have of a gist of if something's going to happen. At least that day or something. So just reach out.

"You know in this league, this is a possibility. Like 'Hey, you're going to get an all-world player [Davis], I get it. ... Cool. No hard feelings.'

"But all you want is just like a heads-up, or even -- when the deal is final -- to get a call or even get a call just the same day and not find out on Twitter, and not get called, days later."

Hart said he heard he'd been traded by reading it on Twitter. At the time, he was supposed to be taping an episode of his podcast with Kenneth Faried.

"It turns out he's very allergic to dogs, and we didn't know until he got to the house," Hart explained. "So if that did happen, our phones would've been on airplane mode, and I wouldn't have known until, an hour, an hour and a half after [the trade news] came out."

Hart is averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in 10 games with the Pelicans, well above his career averages of 7.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in his two seasons with LA. He has missed seven straight games with a knee injury, however.

The Lakers (14-2) have the best record in the NBA.

Hart said he's kept up with several of his former teammates, like Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo and LeBron James, and is rooting for them to succeed. "You always want the players to do well, no matter what," he said.

"Honestly you do feel like, 'Aw, dang.'

"Like there's always a part in your head like you could help in that situation or something like that. But ... I want them to do as well as they can, and I'm happy that they're doing as well as they are right now."

Ingram said Sunday there will be "no emotions" in his first game against the Lakers. But admitted he "followed a lot of those guys" and is "really good friends withKentavious Caldwell-Pope" and that "they're a really good team."

As for Davis' return to New Orleans, Ingram said: "I'm not sure. I don't know if they're going to boo him or going to clap, but he's a great player that we have to game plan for."

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