The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick just over a year ago, with the intention for the L.A. product to be their point guard of the future.
And then LeBron James happened.
LeBron reportedly wants to play alongside Lonzo, with Ramona Shelburne going as far as to say that The King is a fan of Ball’s game and is “excited” about playing with him.
All that said, LeBron did tell the Lakers on Saturday night that he likes Lonzo’s game and is excited to play with him.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2018
However, the Lakers signed Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9 million deal just days after LeBron agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the purple and gold, which lead many to believe that the purple and gold would be trading Ball sooner rather than later.
Marc Stein from the New York Times backs up this sentiment, stating that rival teams around the league expect Lonzo to be dealt now LeBron’s in town:
How James and Lonzo Ball’s infamously vocal father LaVar coexist in the same ZIP code is another source of considerable curiosity, which explains why a number of rival teams already expect the Lakers to try to ship Lonzo Ball out at the first opportunity.
Remember, this isn’t necessarily the Lakers’ thinking, just that of rival teams, and just because they think Lonzo or his father can’t coexist with LeBron doesn’t mean Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka think the same.
After all, Lonzo is the guy that actually matters here – he’s the player, not his father.
However, there is reason to wonder whether the Lakers have been considering a Lonzo trade seeing as they wanted to keep news of his knee injury somewhat of a secret, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via CBS Sports):
“That knee, the meniscus injury that could require surgery, I know this: The team didn’t want that information out, and I don’t believe intentionally, at least from upper management, there were a lot of teams who wanted to do trades with the Lakers or were trying to figure out if they might be in a position to, they were trying to figure out what was going on with that knee.
“I don’t think the Lakers wanted anyone to know, and I think there is a belief around there that that information was put out there from around Ball’s sphere to keep from getting traded, because if teams knew he was having knee surgery they’re not trading for him. I think there was concern there that he might be put in a deal.”
Wojnarowski later clarified on Twitter that Ball “may” require surgery, and doesn’t necessarily need it.
Whatever happens, Ball likely won’t be dealt to the San Antonio Spurs in a Kawhi Leonard deal as they’re said to have no interest in acquiring him.