Among the numerous Lakers rumors that have been coming out of the woodwork since the franchise bagged the second overall pick in the June 22 NBA draft, the most talked about is the prospect of drafting former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball. The general consensus among Lakers fans is that Lonzo is the missing piece that can steer Los Angeles to its rightful place as one of the league’s best, so it only makes sense.
And how’s this for a Laker rumor: a source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Lonzo Ball will be working out for the Los Angeles Lakers on June 7. As reported by ESPN, Ball is set to meet with the franchise’s coaching staff and front-office personnel. It’s also going to be an individual workout, according to the source.
Other league sources claim that Ball may work out with the Philadelphia 76ers as well.
Lonzo also reportedly declined an offer to work out for Boston, said Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, despite the opportunity to be selected No. 1 overall.
Lonzo Ball’s workout with the Lakers was originally scheduled for June 9, but a conflict schedule forced the franchise to reschedule it to June 7 instead, a source said.
As a draft prospect, Lonzo seems to be the perfect fit for the Lakers’ current roster. For one, D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, has proven to be more adept at creating his own shots than in distributing the ball. If there’s one missing piece in the Laker lineup, it’s a consistent and able playmaker, and Lonzo has proven that he’s got the playmaking skills to fill that role for the ball club. As such, a backcourt pairing of Ball and Russell will create many offensive opportunities for the Lakers.
It seems fated, as Lonzo’s controversial father LaVar Ball declared in May that his son will only work out for the Lakers. On top of his many other outlandish pronouncements, LaVar said that Lonzo can help the Lakers immediately.
“The Lakers make the playoffs as soon as my boy gets there,” LaVar said.
While league sources claim that Los Angeles is expected to pick Lonzo Ball, the franchise will be considering other prospects to ensure that they get it right.
Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka said at the NBA draft lottery that the Lakers are considering “four, five guys that are well-suited to be (drafted).”
LaVar is confident, however, that his son will be holding a Laker jersey come June 22.
“There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever,” LaVar said. “I’m going to say it again, in English, speak it into existence. In Spanish, speak it into existence. In Africa, speak that (expletive) into existence.”
Many Laker fans expressed concerns that Lonzo Ball’s dad, who has made a bevy of exaggerated comments about his son in the months leading to the NBA draft, could become a major distraction to the Lakers throughout the season. Lakers president Magic Johnson, however, said that LaVar won’t affect the selection process. To emphasize his point, he compared LaVar Ball to Kardashians momager, Kris Jenner, as reported by CBS Sports.
“The Kardashians, we didn’t say that the mom [Jenner] was bad, and she made them a lot of money, right? She’s bragged on her daughters, and I think it’s the same here,” Magic said. “He’s saying, ‘Hey, my son is great,’ and there’s nothing bad with that. So we’re not looking at LaVar being a problem if we’re blessed to have the opportunity to draft Lonzo.”
“As long as it doesn’t bother [Lonzo], it’s not going to bother the Laker organization, as long as Lonzo performs on the basketball court. Will that make him have a target on his back? Well, of course, guys want to come in and take it to him. And not just because of LaVar. But because he’s a rookie, because he would be a No. 1 pick or No. 2 pick or No. 3 pick.”
Do you think the Lakers should pick Lonzo Ball in the NBA draft? Will his dad LaVar Ball cause problems in the franchise moving forward? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]