LaVar Ball Rips Lakers' Direction, Talks LeBron James, Lonzo Trade Rumors, More

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 30: LaVar Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on December 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

In the midst of the Los Angeles Lakers' dysfunction, LaVar Ball took center stage once again to discuss the franchise and his hope to see all of his kids play together. 

During Tuesday's episode of Undisputed on FS1, Ball talked about his previous statement that Magic Johnson was nothing more than a face for the Lakers:

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

"I'm always right. I can't help it. ... I'm not shocked about anything. There's only one thing I'm shocked about is if my wife leaves me." @Lavarbigballer on calling Magic Johnson the 'face' of the Lakers in February https://t.co/8mMudTr5am

Ball made the comment in February, saying Johnson didn't have any real authority within the organization. He added he was "trying to figure out who was in charge" in Los Angeles. 

Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations in April and later said on ESPN's First Take (h/t NJ.com's Todderick Hunt) he didn't "have the decision-making power I thought I had."

One reason Ball said he soured on Johnson is the Lakers didn't at least give his son, LiAngelo, an opportunity after Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka said they would:

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

.@ShannonSharpe: Magic led you to believe that he would at least give Gelo an opportunity? @Lavarbigballer: Yes, Magic and Rob Pelinka behind closed doors. https://t.co/IwyXDj0kZN

When LeBron James was mentioned, Ball said there's no chance the four-time NBA MVP would even consider leaving the organization. He also disputed the notion that the Lakers will add Kyrie Irving to play next to James again. 

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

"LeBron ain't going nowhere. LeBron is looking at the big picture. This is LA ... He's got enough talent on that team to make them win without a free agent. You have a Ball boy; you have a championship. That's what we're talking about: championships." — @Lavarbigballer https://t.co/rIVU9CCB1k

"You get married; you get divorced. I guarantee you don't go marry that girl you just divorced," Ball said. "Kyrie already was married to LeBron; we already did our thing together. ... If we already went through some misery one time, why are you gonna do it twice?"

As was the case leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Lonzo Ball could find himself as a subject of talks if the Lakers look to make a move.

The family patriarch did his best to deflect any Lonzo trade talk but didn't offer any legitimate basketball reason that the Lakers wouldn't entertain offers. 

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

"Lonzo's built for LA. I groomed him the right way. You give him fancy cars early, fancy cars don't mean nothing to him. ... People are like, 'Why is Lonzo rapping? He should be working on his FTs.' Who's to say he didn't do his FTs instead of going to the club?" —@Lavarbigballer https://t.co/41KsUgLLFI

"I said [the Lakers] aren't going trade him," LaVar said. "They ain't gonna trade Lonzo. Best guy in the business. Got so much going for him, more than anybody. He's got his own brand. He's likable. He's marketable. You don't have to worry about him being in trouble. He doesn't do no drugs."

LaVar also explained his plan to get Lonzo to improve on his 41.7 free-throw percentage from last season:

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

.@Lavarbigballer: The Lakers won't trade Lonzo. He's marketable. You don't have to worry about him being in trouble. He doesn't do any drugs. Skip: But you can't shoot 42% from the FT line LaVar: It's very easy to fix FTs. It's a mindset. Every time you miss 3 FTs, I want $10K. https://t.co/p0plzzCZfD

There have been conflicting reports about trade talks involving Lonzo between the Lakers and two other teams.

Per FS1's Jason McIntyre, the Phoenix Suns (No. 6 overall) and Chicago Bulls (No. 7 overall) were discussing trading their first-round picks for Lonzo. 

However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reported there was no truth to the Suns offer.

During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, LaVar also shot down any notion that Lonzo could be included in a potential deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.

Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd

.@ColinCowherd: "Are you concerned at all when you hear this story that potentially Lonzo could be part of a trade package [for Anthony Davis]?" @Lavarbigballer: "Lonzo ain't going nowhere" https://t.co/ct3dowoK51

The Lakers are starting this offseason in a similar position to where they were after they signed James last summer. There are a lot of questions about the roster and head coach—Frank Vogel is taking over for Luke Walton after a disappointing two-season run with the Orlando Magic from 2016 to 2018. 

LaVar did note Lonzo's ankle is healed and that the point guard will be ready for training camp in September. That gives the Lakers more flexibility if they keep the 21-year-old or include him in a trade. 

This summer is one of great uncertainty in Los Angeles. Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss have James to build around, but after a 37-45 record in 2018-19, significant upgrades seem likely. As much as LaVar believes the Lakers can run it back next season with James and Ball as the top two players, every option should be on the table for a franchise in desperate need of positive headlines.


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