The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be firmly in pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, and in order to get him, they may have to give up Lonzo Ball. The first report on the baseline package the Pelicans were requesting from the Lakers was that it would include Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick in any trade for Davis.
How much more Davis could cost the Lakers beyond that is unclear, but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, if things do come down to that rumored package or another with Ball in it, Ball is hoping to be sent somewhere without an “established point guard” like Jrue Holiday.
Sources: Should Lakers/Pelicans trade talks pick up, point guard Lonzo Ball's camp prefers Ball to be moved to a third team that doesn't have an established point guard.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 29, 2019
The bad news for Ball and his camp is that he doesn’t have a whole lot of leverage here. Beyond this leak to make the Pelicans think twice about acquiring a player who doesn’t want to be there — and short of LaVar Ball going on a bloviation tour — there aren’t a whole lot of ways that Ball’s camp can get their way here.
Ball is on a rookie contract that puts him completely under team control for at least two more years, and even then whatever roster he was on could make him a restricted free agent. Ball can agitate to end up elsewhere, but the Lakers and Pelicans simply don’t have to care.
The good news for Ball is that while he’s dealing with a grade 3 ankle sprain he isn’t as desirable of an asset as he would have been if he were heading into the trade deadline healthy and on a tear like the one he was on before he hurt his ankle. The Pelicans might also decide to clean house and embrace the tank without Davis, either benching or trading Holiday, the latter of which would seem to remove Ball’s main issue with the organization.
The other possible scenario is that the Lakers and Pelicans also may not be able to work out a deal, but the bottom line is that what Ball wants likely won’t factor into that one way or the other. There are larger forces being set into motion, and Lonzo’s camp is just going to have to accept that he’s no longer the biggest baller in town, and will have to deal with whatever decision the Lakers and Pelicans come to without a whole lot of avenues for recourse.
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