When the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t deal Lonzo Ball at the NBA deadline despite rampant Anthony Davis trade rumors for the entire week preceding it, his reaction was simple: To excitedly take to Instagram and celebrate:
LONZO BALL IS ON ONE SDUKFLSDHBFLKSDBFSDK (from his IG story) pic.twitter.com/sngUUqWQAZ— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) February 7, 2019
Ball said on Bleacher Report’s “House of Highlights” show that as funny and well-timed as his reaction to his seemingly-impending-yet-ultimately-cancelled exile was, it wasn’t planned:
“I was in the training room getting treatment, and we was watching and right when (the trade deadline countdown) went to zero I just recorded it... Yeah (I played the song)... I think it just happened. I was scrolling through my phone and I saw the TV was right here. I was like ‘five, four...’”
“There’s a bunch of stuff that started coming out. Obviously, I wanted to be in L.A. But at the end of the day, I just want to play. So wherever that may be, it wasn’t a big deal to me. But my primary choice was to stay.”
It’s unclear if the Lakers’ primary choice was to keep him, or if the New Orleans Pelicans just really didn’t want to move Davis. The reality that Ball and the rest of the team (understandably) weren’t the organization’s first priority is something that Ball’s teammates have admitted affected them, and anonymous team sources saw the impact of behind the scenes. And like his teammates were at exit interviews, Ball was candid about the trade rumors taking their toll on the team:
“I think that kind of led to our downfall a little bit, just because everybody’s name was in it, so it kind of messed up some things.”
For now though, the Pelicans are saying Davis is off the market. That could just be a negotiating tactic, and so it’s not totally clear if the Lakers’ new, Magic Johnson-less brain trust will be throwing Ball and basically the entire team at the new Pelicans executive David Griffin all summer long. Either way, the young Lakers are probably ready for that process now that they’ve gone through it, even if most of them — like Ball — would probably rather stay and enjoy the perks that being a Laker brings.
To that end, Ball has shown himself as a player potentially worth keeping around, and the Lakers at the very least don’t seem desperate to get rid of him. So for a little while longer, Ball can keep blasting “Bad Boys For Life,” because (at least for another month) he ain’t going nowhere.