The Los Angeles Lakers are working out UCLA guard Lonzo Ball Wednesday as part of their preparations for the 2017 NBA Draft, and it appears the team won’t be finished meeting with him there.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton already grabbed dinner with Ball at Scopa in Venice Tuesday night, according to Mike Bresnahan. Not done with meals with the Lakers’ brass just yet, Ball will get whisked away to lunch with Jeanie, Joey and Jesse Buss following his Lakers workout, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.
The Lakers spending this much time with Ball would certainly seem to point towards the team at the very least heavily considering taking him with the No. 2 pick in the draft on June 22, as while most high-profile prospects over the past several years have dined on the Lakers’ dime before their workouts, I can’t recall one getting an extra lunch with ownership after.
The context here, though, is that things were different the last several years. When Jim Buss was vice president of basketball operations, the dinner with the front office the night before included a member of ownership, which could be the reason for no extra lunches. Jeanie Buss has a better relationship and communication with this front office, which might have made it less of an issue to set up a separate lunch.
Or maybe the Lakers just want extra data. Maybe they’re just heavily vetting Ball’s dining choices in order to get a better feel from him. “Oh, he put ketchup on his steak? Bad decision making. Drop him ten spots on the board.” You know, logical pre-draft vetting like that.
Or it is possible lunch with Jeanie Buss just worked out today and hadn’t schedule-wise before, or it just hadn’t been reported. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for all the most relevant lunch updates throughout the draft process.
Here is an updating list of every player the Lakers have worked out or met with. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.