UPDATE: LaVar Ball now claims he was misquoted, and that while he hopes his son ends up on the Lakers, he’s not trying to force him there. Original story follows.
With rumors of Indiana Pacers star Paul George wanting to return to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers circulating in recent days, it’s worth wondering just how much L.A. natives and their families want them to end up on the Lakers in general.
In the case of UCLA freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, the answer might be a lot, at least if you listen to his father.
"My son will only play for the Lakers,” LaVar Ball said during an appearance on The Kevin and Mike Show, a local Arizona sports radio show. The context of Ball’s comments is somewhat unknown, so they have to be taken with at least a small grain of salt, and it’s also worth noting they don’t totally matter.
The Lakers will only get to keep their first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft if it lands in the top-three selections, something that as of right now it only has a 46.9 percent chance to do.
Even if the Lakers do keep their pick, there is no guarantee they would take Ball, who Draft Express has ranked as the second-best prospect in the current (likely) draft class.
It’s also a draft, not free agency, meaning that it doesn’t really matter where Ball wants to go. He could try and maneuver his way to a team by selectively declining workouts, but if he wants to play in the NBA, he must do so for the team that selects him.
And if the elder Ball really wants his son to end up on the Lakers, he might want to stop telling opposing general managers how good he is (via Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports):
In an interview with TMZ Sports, LaVar said Lonzo, a freshman point guard at UCLA, would be better than Steph Curry and Jason Kidd once he got to the NBA.
In response to the question, “You think he can be as good as Steph Curry in the NBA?” LaVar scrunched up his face and scoffed: “Heck no! He gon’ be better than Steph Curry in the NBA!
“Steph Curry’s pretty good,” he continued. “My son is young, he’s got time to grow. And you only consider him good because he’s won a couple championships. … He makes some shots at the right time. But he’s not as young as my boy. You not gonna be able to say this until my boy finishes playing his career; then they gon’ look back and say, ‘Man, how did LaVar know all this?'”
This comes a few weeks after LaVar said all three of his sons strived to be better than Michael Jordan.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.