The Los Angeles Lakers will work out LiAngelo Ball and five other draft prospects at their practice facility this week, the latest step towards all LaVar Ball seeing his vision of getting all three of his sons on the team come to fruition.
But while in the past it was made to seem like that was the family’s only goal, with LiAngelo saying things like that it was his “priority” to get drafted by his brother Lonzo Ball’s team, there was a noticeable shift in rhetoric coming from the Big Baller clan at the Pro Basketball Combine, with LiAngelo telling Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype that he’s open to playing for any organization.
“I’ve been saying I’d like to play for the Lakers because my brother is on the team and of course I want to play with him, but I’d love to play for any other team too,” he said. ”I don’t really have a favorite or a top choice or anything like that. I’m ready to play for any team.”
LaVar has also been outspoken in his desire to see Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo all wear purple and gold, but he also told Kennedy he’s fine if that doesn’t happen, because his priority is for all of them to have the best careers possible.
“My preference, as I’ve said, is to have all my boys on the Lakers,” LaVar said. “But if the Lakers are thinking something else and another team is thinking, ‘Man, this guy can really do something for our team and start’ or whatever, then I’m not just to going to be like, ‘Let’s [have LiAngelo] go to the Lakers and play in the G League.’ We’re going to go with the team who really believes in [LiAngelo]. That’s all I hope for, as far as ‘Gelo showing teams that he can play out here.”
This is probably a wise approach from LaVar and LiAngelo for a few reasons. For one, it was always doubtful they’d be able to strong arm their way onto the Lakers given LiAngelo’s status as a fringe NBA prospect, and players of that status also can’t limit their options.
There is a very good chance the Lakers won’t want to use either of their picks on a player most don’t consider a surefire pro, and even creating a list of preferred teams might be a turn off for some organizations already wary of the types of media headaches LaVar can create for an organization.
If LiAngelo wants to stick in the NBA and drastically increasing his talent level isn’t an option, becoming less of a source of off-the-court tabloid fodder might help his situation, something these latest comments would seem to indicate the family has recognized.
That realization likely won’t help the Lakers with Lonzo or guarantee LiAngelo gets drafted, but it also can’t hurt on either front.
All stats per sports-reference.com. A full list of every prospect we know the Lakers have worked out is available here. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen, or support his work via Venmo here or Patreon here.