Can LaVar Ball and Kim Kardashian’s trainer co-exist as Lakers?

Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.

The Los Angeles Lakers have had massive staff turnover in recent months, including on the training staff. The team needed a new strength and endurance coach, so they hired … a trainer to the stars, Gunnar Peterson. Among his current and former clients, according to reports: Kim Kardashian, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lopez, Russell Wilson, Sofia Vergara, Bruce Willis, Angelina Jolie, and more. A quarter of a million people follow him on Instagram, which is where the photo above is from.

He’s … basically perfect for the Lakers.

Here’s the rub, though: assuming the Lakers keep their No. 2 draft pick and select Lonzo Ball, the new trainer with a large celebrity profile and client list might have Young Zo do things differently than Smartest Man in the World LaVar Ball would. What a clash of personalities that might be!

Let’s all celebrate the Lakers fully leaning into their brand by hiring Kim Kardashian’s trainer to run strength and endurance, and let’s prepare for the coming LaVarpocalypse, wherever it may land.

The Cavaliers are back in Boston for Game 5 against the Celtics on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Cleveland leads 3-1. The C’s have been way more competitive of late. Will it hold?

I wrote about why the Celtics should plan to keep and re-sign Isaiah Thomas: he’s the perfect complement to Boston’s youth movement.

Zito Madu on how Kyrie Irving is LeBron’s perfect co-star.

Those Chris Paul-Spurs rumors are beginning to percolate. I’ll have more on this soon.

The NBA is in quite a pickle. The league pulled the 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte after North Carolina passed HB 2, which essentially legalized discrimination against transgender people in the state. The NBA was one of many businesses who took events and money out of North Carolina as a protest. The state recently replaced HB 2 with a new law that critics suggest is pretty much no different. Now LGBT groups are criticizing the NBA for announcing it will hold the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte. The NBA’s original decision to take a stand in N.C. was admirable. But the league is going to take a lot of heat now for essentially granting North Carolina’s legislature absolution. We’ll see how it plays out and whether the NBA eventually reverses course again.

UNC has its first one-and-done player in almost a decade: Tony Bradley, who will stay in the draft. The decision has huge ramification for Tar Heels basketball.

One player not staying in the draft: Hamidou Diallo, the Kentucky commit who hasn’t actually played any college ball but was draft-eligible.

Ben Falk with a thoughtful look at how we consider and rate coaches.

After demanding a female TV sports journalist “stay in her lane” when she critiqued him, LaVar Ball is now selling “Stay In Yo Lane” t-shirts, which if nothing else self-identifies those who wear them as people you should absolutely avoid at all costs.

Kevin O’Connor on the 3-and-D archetype, and why the draft is where to grab one.

Scottie Pippen says LeBron has not passed Kobe Bryant, which is hilarious.

Travis Schlenk from the Warriors will be the Hawks’ new general manager! People love them some Travis Schlenk.

Brandon Sneed writes that it’s time to rethink what coaches wear on the sidelines. As long as we don’t end up with Billy Donovan borrowing clothes from Russell Westbrook …

Diana Moskovitz breaks down the NBA’s new policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse and finds that while it incorporates much of what leading experts wanted, some cases will still fall through the cracks and leaving the league in a tough spot. Zach Lowe described one such case last week.

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