Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has endured a trying second-year NBA campaign that included a season-ending ankle sprain and a daily spot in trade rumors in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
Ball addressed his recovery from an ankle injury and those rumors in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic.
"I'm very, very motivated," Ball told Charania. "I want to be the best I can be. I'm looking forward to this summer. I don't look at it as added pressure, because I haven't had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I'm just happy that I'm going to be healthy.
"It's been frustrating. This is the second year that [a season-ending injury] has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated."
Ball also didn't seem too worried about where he'll playing starting next fall.
"At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control," Ball told Charania. "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."
The primary concern is Ball getting back to full health and playing an 82-game season (or close to it).
As Charania noted, Ball was enjoying a mini-breakout in the days leading to his season-ending ankle sprain on Jan. 19, averaging 13.0 points, 8.1 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in seven games. The ex-UCLA floor general also posted a 16-point triple-double against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 15.
But injuries have hindered Ball's progress. He sat 30 contests with knee and shoulder ailments during his rookie year and will finish this season missing 35 more.
The silver lining is that Ball will be able to do far more during his summer conditioning program this year. The point guard underwent knee surgery last July.
"Obviously, improving everything on the basketball court: my shooting, finishing," Ball said regarding what he'll be working on this summer. "But for my body, working on my legs, and make sure they're strong and ready. I didn't get to do any leg work last summer. This is going to be a new summer, most definitely."
Ball finished his second NBA season with 9.9 points on 40.6 percent shooting, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.