Lonzo Ball has seen his name come up in trade rumors at several points throughout his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, and until he proves that he is absolutely worth taking off the table under any and all circumstances, that will remains the case.
That said, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic such noise doesn’t bother him, and he wants to perform his absolute best no matter which city he plays in:
Ball understands this summer presents the chance at a positive step for the opportunity of self-improvement — no matter what happens.
“At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control,” Ball told The Athletic. “If I get traded, then I get traded. But I’m going to be ready to go. The goal is to be the best player I can for whichever team.”
We’ll come back to his or his camp’s lack of concern with trade rumors in a bit, but this is the right approach to have — especially playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where that noise is all but unavoidable. The better he and his teammates get at blocking out that noise, the higher the likelihood that they succeed in spite of their leaky front office.
According to Charania, teams around the league are still interested in Ball as a prospect despite his injury concerns:
The Lakers involved Ball, Kuzma, Ingram and Hart in trade talks for New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis. Once the Lakers received James’ commitment last July, some teams began attempting to gather information on Ball and his health in case he became available, sources told The Athletic. He has several steps remaining to be cleared for full basketball activities, but teams will clearly go through the same process this summer if he becomes a trade target.
Ball is very good at understanding the right thing to say and concisely getting that message out there. For such a young NBA player, it’s impressive, really. With that said, it’s hard to take him all that seriously about not caring about which city he plays in when there were multiple reports during the Davis saga that he or his camp very much cared about which city he played in.
Hell, last offseason, the perception was that he went under the knife as soon as his name came up in trade rumors for Kawhi Leonard. Given the type of injury he has currently, we very easily could see that same tactic this summer. There’s no way to know definitively whether or not he took that approach to staying in Los Angeles, but the timing was certainly interesting.
Look, it’s great that Ball might have a legitimate opportunity at an injury-free offseason. That it comes at the cost of the rest of this season is a bummer, but still. For all of his instinctual and raw talents, there are aspects of his game that need legitimate work (shooting, for example). It’s also great to hear him talk about this approach to dealing with noise. There is a difference between him not caring about where he plays or
LaVar Ball his camp not caring where he suits up.
Given the nosedive the Lakers took without him, if Lonzo succeeds in getting fully healthy and adding to his game, he should still have considerable value on the trade market. Not so much that he’s untouchable quite yet, but still, as Charania points out, there are definitely teams still interested in the impact he’s capable of making. Here’s hoping he gets the opportunity to make that impact for the Lakers.
Ain’t that right, LaVar?