Even before the 2017 NBA draft, most people already envisioned LaVar Ball becoming a huge problem to any team who would sign his son Lonzo Ball. The older Ball has been getting too much attention from the media, and he doesn’t hold back when he wanted to say something, even to the most powerful person in the world. As of now, LaVar is starting to become a major distraction on his son’s team, entering the major question for the Los Angeles Lakers, should they consider trading Lonzo Ball?
In an interview with ESPN, LaVar Ball said Lakers head coach Luke Walton should be blamed for the team’s recent struggle. Ball believes Walton lost the team and players don’t want to play for him anymore. Instead of defending his coach from his father’s harsh comments, Lonzo Ball just said he would “play for anybody,” unlike his fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma who stood for Walton.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka decided to remain silent in the one-sided feud between Walton and Ball. But, according to Bill Plaschke of Los Angeles Times, LaVar’s intervention may have a huge effect on the Lakers’ rebuilding effort and their ability to attract free agents. Plaschke suggested that Johnson and Pelinka should tell Ball that if he doesn’t shut up, they will trade his son. He also explained why trading Lonzo Ball won’t hurt the Lakers that much.
“He’s a good player, but not a transformative one. He’s not their best rookie; that’s Kuzma. He’s not a future cornerstone; that’s Brandon Ingram. He makes the Lakers better, but how much better, and at what cost?”
For a controversial player like Lonzo Ball, his production should surpass the distraction in order to become a successful player in the league. Unfortunately, Ball will be needing to perform like a rookie LeBron James in order to balance the equation. If the Lakers could turn back time, there is a growing belief that many in the organization would be against drafting Ball. Aside from his father’s antics, Ball has not been as good as Jayson Tatum or Donovan Mitchell.
If he’s serious about helping the Lakers return to title contention, Lonzo Ball should start by talking to his father. According to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, Lonzo is the only person who could ask LaVar to shut his mouth. Wetzel believes he should handle the situation like an adult instead of letting his father do what he likes.
If Ball won’t help in solving the current problem, it would be best for the Lakers to move him before his father ruins the team. The Lakers could use Ball as a trade bait in order to dump Luol Deng and his expensive contract before the 2018 free agency hits.