The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a roller-coaster of an offseason that saw them overhaul their roster and sign LeBron James, so for the first time since he joined the team, Lonzo Ball has sort of flown under the radar.
That doesn’t mean this offseason hasn’t seen notable news about Ball, with potentially the most noteworthy being word of his knee injury from the end of the season actually being a torn meniscus leaking out.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN while speaking on his titular “Woj Pod,” Ball’s injury may be more serious than previously thought, and the Lakers weren’t happy with what appeared to be Ball’s camp leaking news of it to keep him out of any potential trades the teams could make:
“That knee, the meniscus injury that could require surgery, I know this: The team didn’t want that information out, and I don’t believe intentionally, at least from upper management, there were a lot of teams who wanted to do trades with the Lakers or were trying to figure out if they might be in a position to, they were trying to figure out what was going on with that knee.
“I don’t think the Lakers wanted anyone to know, and I think there is a belief around there that that information was put out there from around Ball’s sphere to keep from getting traded, because if teams knew he was having knee surgery they’re not trading for him. I think there was concern there that he might be put in a deal.”
Wojnarowski later clarified that Ball’s injury didn’t necessarily need surgery, and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN added that Ball is looking into other options:
Listening back to pod discussion on Lonzo Ball's knee injury, I misspoke: What I planned to say was that he may require surgery, not that he requires it. https://t.co/YcI2iV0CQc— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 4, 2018
Had heard same. Lonzo has tried looking into different options to best treat knee without surgery like PRP and rest. Pod has plenty on Lakers, Lonzo, LeBron, Lance, Kawhi https://t.co/xH47MAf6v1— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) July 4, 2018
Nebulousness about what might be a more serious injury to Ball than previously thought aside, there are a few things worth noting about this. For one, Ball’s name potentially coming up in trade discussions, and the Lakers being upset that Ball’s camp appears to have tried to avoid that doesn’t mean that the team is necessarily eager to move him. As has been said repeatedly by the front office, no one is untouchable, but it doesn’t mean they want to deal Ball either.
It’s also worth noting that while the Lakers might not have wanted news of Ball’s injury to slow trade discussions, they also hardly would have been able to hide it from teams doing physicals or asking for his medical info to complete a trade, so this seems like more of a rebuke to his camp through the media than an actual thing they can be upset about in terms of it derailing a deal.
In other words, to the degree they’re upset, the Lakers are likely upset more because Ball’s camp is trying to influence trade talks than that they thought they could send damaged goods to an unsuspecting team.
How much tension develops from this is worth keeping an eye on, as is Ball’s injury, but for now this seems like more of the Lakers trying to let Ball and his people know through the media that they aren’t going to tolerate this type of thing again more than any evidence that they’re in a rush to deal Ball.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.