Lakers Rumors: Magic Johnson Kept Lonzo Ball from Getting Unauthorized Surgery

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23:  Lonzo Ball looks on and Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers arrive for a press conference on June 23, 2017 at the team training faculity in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson reportedly worked together to prevent point guard Lonzo Ball from undergoing an unauthorized surgery on his troublesome left ankle in February.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday that Ball was pushed toward the procedure by now-estranged business partner Alan Foster. Pelinka informed Ball that his contract could be voided by the surgery before working with Johnson to ensure the second-year guard did not go through with it.

Pelinka and Johnson accompanied Ball to his doctor appointments from that point forward, per Charania. Johnson also spent time with Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram while he recovered from surgery for a blood clot.

Johnson unexpectedly resigned Tuesday from his role with the organization, telling reporters, "I was happier when I wasn't president." The Hall of Fame point guard won five NBA championships during his playing days with the Lakers.

Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft, struggled with ankle injuries throughout the 2018-19 season and was shut down by L.A. early in March to prevent further setbacks.

The 21-year-old UCLA product told reporters Wednesday his ankle was "finally starting to show some good progress" and that he hoped to get back on the court in a couple of weeks to begin offseason training.

Ball terminated his relationship with Foster in March after he discovered approximately $1.5 million was missing from his personal and business financial accounts, per Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne of ESPN.com.

Ball announced Monday that he's chosen Creative Artists Agency after he mutually parted ways with former agent Harrison Gaines. He said Thursday he's looking forward to the fresh start after a trying year on and off the court.

"A lot of things are going to happen that you can't necessarily control all the time, but you can control what you do after it happens," Ball told reporters. "So that's what I try to do, keep my head up, keep moving forward, stay positive and just work hard."

Ball averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 47 appearances (45 starts) during the 2018-19 season. He ranked 36th among point guards in ESPN.com's Real Plus-Minus.

The Lakers are expected to overhaul their roster after failing to reach expectations in the first year of the LeBron James era, so there's no guarantee Ball will still be in L.A. when next season kicks off.

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