As rumors swirled all around the Los Angeles Lakers and names starting coming up in potential trade scenarios, a somewhat surprising report that Lonzo Ball had torn his meniscus come from seemingly out of nowhere and gave teams pause about considering trading for him. Almost immediately, it was reported that the Lakers were upset and believed that someone in Ball’s camp had leaked it.
Well, LaVar Ball says it wasn’t him (via TMZ Sports):
“I don’t leak nothing. I always say what’s on my mind, so you don’t never see me saying, ‘I think I should say this now and let it leak.’ I don’t do that.”
Everyone from fans to reporters connected the dots. Big Baller Brand would stand to benefit from Lonzo remaining a Laker under normal circumstances. Add LeBron James’ commitment to sign and play there for potentially the next four years and the benefits were quite obvious.
The San Antonio Spurs, per multiple reports are not interested in Ball in any kind of Kawhi Leonard trade, but Ball might have been a part of a bigger trade to help make that possible. That all goes out the window as soon as it was made public that he would need to recover from a torn meniscus (even if other teams would have found out about his injury before trades were completed).
Before this, LaVar quotes — as annoying as they might be at times — were mostly harmless. Once he potentially starts messing with the way the Lakers do business, that’s when he goes from somewhat innocent distraction to actively harmful to the Lakers’ attempts to improve their roster.
At the same time, Ball’s camp has just as much of a right as any team to leak things through the media in order to look out for their best interests. In this case, those didn’t necessarily align with the Lakers, but that doesn’t make them any more wrong to look out for them than a team is when they leak information about a player.
Now, given how journalism works, we’ll probably never know for sure. LaVar might actually be telling the truth that he personally did not leak this information to Shams Charania (who has been very plugged into the Ball family). The timing of this just makes it almost certain it came from Ball’s camp, but that doesn’t mean it had to be LaVar.
And specifically who the leak came from isn’t what’s important at this point. It’s how this attempt to leverage the Lakers affects their relationship with Lonzo and his circle.