Lakers Rumors: Latest On Lonzo Ball's Injury, David Nwaba and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 16, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton talks with guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Monday, March 26, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/\032011001009\)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Believe it or not, there is actually pertinent news about the Los Angeles Lakers that doesn't involve LeBron James.

Sure, the King overshadowed the club's summer league outfit with his presence Sunday, but not everything purple-and-gold related revolves around James

The latest batch of Lakers rumors confirms as much, featuring instead an update on Lonzo Ball's knee injury, potential interest in a familiar face and draft buzz related to a prospect they didn't select.


Lonzo Back for Training Camp?

There are surely more enjoyable ways for Ball to spend his offseason than having multiple treatments on his left knee. But the team recently announced the 20-year-old is heading under the knife for arthroscopic surgery on the problematic joint.

It could be worse, though. As USA Today's Sam Amick reported, Ball is expected to be ready for training camp:

Sam Amick @sam_amick

Even with Lakers announcement that Lonzo Ball is undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his left knee on Tuesday, I'm told he's still expected to be ready for training camp.

Ball's left knee experienced a series of problems during his rookie year, as Tania Ganguli detailed for the Los Angeles Times. Ball suffered an MCL sprain in January, then a knee bruise, and he was later found to have issues with his meniscus. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection in early May.

As Ball's grisly 36.0/30.5/45.1 shooting slash indicates, he could really use the developmental time afforded by a healthy offseason. Not to mention he's fighting to retain his spot in the starting lineup after the club inked Rajon Rondo and created competition for the gig.

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk told ESPN Los Angeles that Ball's injury is "something to watch" and could give Rondo the early advantage:

ESPNLosAngeles @ESPNLosAngeles

“It’s definitely going to be a situation to watch…perhaps the Lakers take it slowly with Lonzo in camp as well…and that probably plays in Rondo’s favor as far as this competition goes.” - @NotoriousOHM on the latest with Lonzo's health

In the grand scheme, though, the important thing is getting Ball back to 100 percent.

Maybe he's not the face of the franchise anymore, but he remains a critical piece of this roster. Shooting woes aside, he dazzled during his debut season, becoming only the fourth freshman to ever average at least 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds.


Reuniting With David Nwaba?

The Lakers' initial discovery of David Nwaba could pay dividends for a second time.

The defensive-minded wing initially joined the club late in the 2016-17 campaign, turning a pair of 10-day pacts into a multiyear agreement. He was waived that July but quickly latched on with the Chicago Bulls, where he spent last season and delivered 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 70 outings (21 starts).

Nwaba entered this offseason as a restricted free agent, but the Bulls rescinded his qualifying offer and subsequently inked Windy City native Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million deal.

Nwaba's market has blown up since, and TNT's David Aldridge reported the Lakers are among teams to express interest:

David Aldridge @daldridgetnt

No surprise: several teams have reached out to @dnwaba0, whose qualifying offer was rescinded by Chicago Thursday, making him an unrestricted free agent. Spurs, Lakers among many, per source, with no frontrunner. Bulls still could re-sign him as well.

While Nwaba wouldn't help with the Lakers' lack of outside shooting (19 makes for his career), he'd fit their vision of surrounding James with tough-minded players. When the Lakers kept Nwaba beyond his two 10-day deals, head coach Luke Walton praised his "toughness" and said Nwaba "gives us a defensive mindset that we definitely need," per Ganguli.

Among Nwaba's career highs last season were 1.4 defensive win shares and a 0.9 defensive box plus/minus that ranked second among Bulls rotation players.


Lakers Were "Ready To Snare" Mitchell Robinson?

Before Mitchell Robinson was running wild with the New York Knicks' summer league squad, he was often connected to the Lakers.

It turns out there may have been some fire at the source of that smoke.

Sources told Marc Berman of the New York Post the Lakers "considered taking [Robinson] at No. 25 and were ready to snare him at No. 39 if he had dropped."

The Lakers, of course, grabbed stretch big man Mo Wagner with the 25th pick and traded away the 39th selection, with Robinson landing in New York as the 36th pick. 

Robinson has since stuffed his summer stat sheet with 13.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. Wagner, meanwhile, averaged 10.3 points on 36.7 percent shooting, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks before a bruised knee ended his summer run.

Robinson, Berman reported, has already switched agents after disagreeing with the decision to pull him out of the combine. Only the Lakers know if Robinson's absence played a part in letting him get past their first-round pick.


Statistics used courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com