Anyone who paid attention to the Los Angeles Lakers last season probably knew that one of their top priorities (if not their actual top priority) heading into this summer was going to be trading for Anthony Davis. It just made too much sense for it not to happen, even with the New Orleans Pelicans being as reticent as they originally were to make a deal work.
As Lonzo Ball told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, he and his teammates saw it coming, too:
“I was kind of excited, honestly,” Ball told ESPN of his first reaction to the trade, after filming Saturday for the PUBG Mobile Team Up Superstar Showdown event. “I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do.
“I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad,” Ball added of being traded. “Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it’s a business, as long you get to play, that’s a blessing in itself. I’m excited to get started.”
It’s good to see Ball taking such a mature approach to all this. His doing so will only make the transition to New Orleans and/or wherever else after that all the easier. This is where I’d remind everyone that by all accounts, Lonzo is an altogether decent young man who gets overshadowed by his father’s antics, but that’s something Laker fans know and the rest of the league will find out over time.
Here’s the thing, though: Ball is right. The NBA is dominated by superstars and their whims. If Anthony freaking Davis wants to be a Laker as badly as he appeared to want to, guess what? He’s going to be a Laker, and no young core is going to get in the way of that.
Well, unless said young player is Kyle Kuzma and they gnaw on their jersey from time to time. But that only works if the organization said player plays for absolutely refuses to move on from an all-timer who has done everything he can to move on from them.
Anywho, back to the point at hand. Ball, Ingram and Hart are going to be hugely popular in New Orleans. Had those covering the Pelicans developed some weird hatred towards them while trade talks went on, they would’ve noticed this. In a way, I’m glad precious few Pelicans fans had to foresight to do handle that situation with any real maturity, because the backflips those who didn’t have done since acquiring the players they called trash mere months ago have been spectacular to watch.
No Lakers fan should garner any ill-will towards any of the kids who landed the Lakers Davis. They acted professionally out here and have continued to do so in their move to New Orleans. I can’t wait to watch Ball flip the narrative on him now that he doesn’t have to contend with the anti-Lakers animosity he dealt with.
(Quick side-note: Don’t think I didn’t notice everyone doing nothing but praising Brandon Clarke for winning Summer League MVP. I didn’t see any “this is why that accomplishment is actually lame” think pieces this time around as we did when Ball won).
As I write this, all the young Lakers (and Derrick Favors) are being introduced in New Orleans. Their next chapter is going to be really fun to watch, just as the last one was and those to follow will be. Ball’s response to Youngmisuk encapsulates his time as a Laker, and shows that it prepared him for life after playing for his childhood team. I can’t wait to see what’s next.