Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Lonzo Ball's Big Baller Brand Drama and Jason Kidd

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 19:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a foul against the Houston Rockets in the first half at Toyota Center on January 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

While it remains to be seen what will become of Big Baller Brand, Lonzo Ball has made it clear that his time with the brand is over due to concerns over co-founder Alan Foster's alleged mismanagement of $1.5 million of his money.

That's explosive news on its own because of the rift it could create with Ball's father, Lavar Ball.

But now, more troubles about Ball's time with the fledgling brand have been revealed.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne, the Los Angeles Lakers have expressed concerns about BBB's failing grade with the Better Business Bureau in 2018. Apparently, there have been 184 customer complaints over the last three years that run the gamut from incorrect merchandise sent to delivery time to untimely responses to customer inquiries.

Additionally, the Lakers have wondered if the BBB shoes have been been the root cause of his many ankle injuries, including the one that led to the decision to shut him down for the season earlier this month.

"Yeah, they talked to me," Ball told ESPN in an interview two weeks ago. "They asked me about it, and I told 'em, 'I feel comfortable. If I wasn't comfortable, I wouldn't play in 'em. If I didn't play in [his signature BBB shoes], I'd play in Kobe [Bryant's signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James' signature Nike shoe], but that's because they're heavier."

While Ball's injuries being caused by the quality or lack of quality associated with BBB's sneakers will be difficult to prove, the damage to the image of the brand could be irreversible.

Nike experienced a similar hit to their image when Duke superstar Zion Williamson hurt his knee after literally coming out of his shoes in a hyped rivalry game with North Carolina last month.

After learning of Foster's misdeeds, Ball was swift to act, but acknowledged his disappointment in Foster, a long-time family friend.

"This has been a very difficult decision as I had a great deal of love and respect for Alan," Ball said in a statement. "But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career both on and off the court."

For his part, LaVar expressed that the situation is "devastating," according to Shelburne and Lavigne's sources.

"I've always believed in the best in people. Regretfully, I put my complete trust in Alan Foster to manage my son's business affairs," LaVar said in a statement. "At the end of the day, family comes first, and I support Zo wholeheartedly. Together, we will make this right."

Ball's full separation from the BBB company may prove to be difficult because he owns 51 percent of the company, while his father owns 16.4 percent and Foster and his mother each own 16.3 percent.

Still, the second-year point guard out of UCLA has impressed teammate LeBron James with his apparent growing level of maturity in dealing with the debacle.

"I love the fact that he’s taking control of his [stuff]," James told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. "I mean … that’s what’s really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story I just seen a kid turning into a man. ‘This is my career and I’m taking this. … I done had enough. If I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be successful on my terms.'"

In addition to his statement, Ball took to social media to make his intentions clear.

In an Instagram post, he wrote: "Moving on to bigger and better #MyOwnMan."

His personal manager, Darren Moore, posted a video that showed him dumping Ball's signature shoe, the ZO2, in the trash.

There's also speculation that Ball will seek an endorsement deal with Nike, another move that James would be happy to see.

"Whatever the kid decides to do, whatever brand he comes with next — if it’s with Nike, obviously we would welcome him," James added. "I would definitely welcome him. I love the kid regardless of what shoes he had on. But we shall see."

Jason Kidd to Coach the Lakers?

UNCASVILLE, CT - SEPTEMBER 08:  Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Inductee Jason Kidd attends the SiriusXM NBA Radio Hall Of Fame Town Hall with Ray Allen, Jason Kidd and Rod Thorn at Mohegan Sun on September 8, 2018 in Uncasville, C
David Surowiecki/Getty Images

It's no secret that Jason Kidd is looking to get back into coaching.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Kidd was among the serious candidates for the Lakers if head coach Luke Walton was dismissed after the season.

Kidd was already up for the head coach opening at Cal, but paused that decision to open the door for L.A., even appearing on Rachel Nichols show "The Jump" to relay his thoughts.

"I think when you look at the Lakers as a whole, it's a franchise that is one of the best in the world—not just in the NBA, but in the world," Kidd said. "And so, if you ever have the opportunity to wear the purple and gold, you can't turn that down—as a coach, as a player—because they're all about championships."

But according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, he may not be getting his dream job after all.

"I’ve been told there’s no way they’re really considering Jason Kidd," Smith said on his podcast. "He’s not on their list. Now, that’s what I’m hearing. But I also want to emphasize I’m not covering the NBA like that. As much as I cover these games or what have you, I’m not on the phones with these executives every single day as intimately as the great Adrian Wojnarowski is. So, I’m certainly not trying to cast any aspersions on any of his reporting. Listen to this man, because he’s usually right on the money. He’s my friend. I respect the hell out of him. But in this particular story, the Lakers are saying, no, we’re not interested in Jason Kidd. And they want to make sure that that’s clear. I don’t know why, but they wanted to make sure that that was clear."

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported in a tweet that his source revealed that Kidd was more interested in a return the the NBA as a coach over taking the job at Cal, who fired head coach Wyking Jones Sunday.

"I think Cal is a great institution," Kidd said. "We’ll see what happens. I would love to get back to coaching at any level, college or the NBA. So, it’s nice to be wanted. That just tells me I’m doing the right thing."

Kidd starred for the Bears from 1992-94 and was the second pick overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1994 draft.

If the Hall of Famer doesn't land with the Lakers or another NBA team, he may do well to seriously consider the Cal position.

Kidd last coached in the league with the Milwaukee Bucks, before he was let go midway last season.

He's widely responsible for helping to mold and develop MVP candidate Giannis Antetokoumpo, so he has a track record of coaching a superstar.

That makes his potential pairing with LeBron James intriguing. 

For now, though, Walton is still the Lakers' coach and Kidd praised the "incredible job" he's done despite all the injuries to key players.

"We’ll wait until the season’s over to see what opportunities come about and hopefully, there’s one that fits," he added.

Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport

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