It’s been almost a year since the Los Angeles Lakers traded Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and two future first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for seven-time All-Star Anthony Davis.
Immediately after the trade was reported on June 15, Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, made a bold prediction (as he’s been known to do) about the Lakers’ future via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (h/t Lonzo Wire):
“Like, I said I guarantee … I’ll say it again: It will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in they life and they’ll never win another championship. Guarantee it. They’re going to regret it; I’m going to have fun with it. I told y’all it was crashing down. Now, it completely crashed, but at least my son is off the boat before the thing exploded.
“I gave ’em a chance. You can rewind it and go back, and I said, ‘You get the three Ball brothers, you going to survive this. You let ’em go … oh, it’s going to be a cold day in hell. Trust me on that.’ ”
Fortunately for the Lakers, hell is still burning hot, and Davis and James have led their team to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Ball and the New Orleans Pelicans are 3.5 games back of the No. 8 seed.
But for those who bought into LaVar’s prediction, we have good news — or should I say, he has good news. In what appears to be a Zoom interview with a young fan, LaVar said that Lonzo is going to come back to the Lakers, and his plan is to bring LiAngelo and LaMelo with him:
“They coming back to the Lakers later. That’s the inside scoop, don’t let them know that yet. We pop up all three of them over there.”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 5, 2020
- LaVar Ball on Lonzo/Gelo/LaMelo teaming up at Staples Center for the #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/k1VQ5lgXsw
“Hey man, just between you and me, we’ll be back later. Just between me and you, they’re coming back to the Lakers later, man. Woo, that’d be crazy, huh? That’s the inside scoop. Don’t let them know that yet. When we pop up, all three of them over there, they’re going to say ‘Aw man, I didn’t know they was coming back.’”
Before we dive deeper into this, I just want to take a moment to note how funny it is that LaVar said “between you and me” on a video I assume he knew was being broadcast — if he didn’t ... yikes.
Moving on, this isn’t the first time Ball has said that all three of his sons were going to play for the Lakers — far from it — but this is the first time he’s said it since Lonzo left. Ultimately that decision will be made by his sons, who recently signed with Roc Nation Sports, but assuming that’s something they’ve all talked about privately, when’s the soonest they’d be able to do it? Let’s break it down.
Lonzo, 22, will be a restricted free agent in 2021. Assuming he signs a five-year extension with the Pelicans, he won’t be an unrestricted free agent again until 2026, which doesn’t even seem like a real year.
His youngest brother, LaMelo, will be a free agent that summer, too, assuming he lives up to his potential and all of his options are picked up by his team, but he’ll be a restricted free agent. So, unless LaMelo forces his way out of whatever city he’s in, we likely won’t see a Ball trio until 2030.
Hopefully by then, the Lakers’ superstar tandem of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis will have brought a few championships to Los Angeles, setting a precedent for the new wave of Lakers All-Stars — or in this case, Ball-Stars.