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Lonzo Ball says it would be ‘a blessing’ to play for the Lakers

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He’s not forcing his way to the team, but he sounds like he’d be open to ending up there.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UCLA vs Cincinnati Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers currently have the second-worst record in the NBA even after some early season optimism, but despite their failure to improve much, there are some silver linings.

For one, the team’s struggles have given them what is right now about a 55 percent chance to keep their top-three protected lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from conveying to the Philadelphia 76ers, good news in a draft that’s as strong or stronger than any other recent ones.

One of the consensus top players in the draft, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, drew headlines earlier this year when his father made it clear how much he wanted him to end up on the Lakers.

Lonzo Ball himself wasn’t quite willing to go as far as his always outspoken father, but in an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” he certainly didn’t sound opposed to the idea.

“At the end of the day, I’ll play for any team. The NBA is the NBA,” Ball said. “But it’d be a blessing to play for the Lakers just because I’m from here, my whole family is here.”

That’s hardly Ball forcing his way to the Lakers, and there are still a lot of things that would have to happen between now and when the team selects a player for him to ultimately end up in purple and gold.

For one, the Lakers would have to keep their pick. Then the new front office would have to decide that it valued Ball over the other prospects, and he would also have to be available when they’re picking, no sure thing unless they get the first overall selection.

Still, Ball’s desire to play for the Lakers does demonstrate that the team is still seen as a desirable destination even in the wake of the latest Buss family drama, good news for a team that will take some positives where they can find them.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.