Other than clearing Timofey Mozgov’s awful contract off of their cap sheet, one of the easiest assumptions to make about the Los Angeles Lakers shipping him and D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez’s expiring contract and the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was that the team was clearing the way for Lonzo Ball to take the reins of the team.
The Lakers have reportedly not promised Ball they’ll take him with the No. 2 pick yet, but with the departure of Russell it seems like all but a certainty that the team is committing to Ball as its floor general going forward.
So despite Ball not being on the team yet, it made sense for reporters to wonder about his thoughts on the Russell trade at his pre-draft availability Wednesday. In addition to confirming that he “likes sleeping,” it’s also not surprising that Ball wasn’t going to pour kerosene on an already inflamed fan base:
Always plenty of insightful stuff to come out of @NBADraft media day. Here's Lonzo Ball. pic.twitter.com/SBCxHRa7Hd— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 21, 2017
Ball offering a no comment isn’t particularly juicy, but it’s also the right approach right now. Nerves are still raw, and he’s not even on the team yet, so why should he risk possibly annoying teammates (or Russell himself) by kicking him on his way out the door?
This is actually just the latest example that Lonzo is not his outspoken father, LaVar Ball. One can only imagine what the Big Baller’s response would have been, and I actually wouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising reporter in New York for the draft finds out for us in the next 24 hours or so.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our episode on the trade below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.