Thanks to the continuous stream of trade rumors linking the Los Angeles Lakers to New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, second-year point guard Lonzo Ball has featured prominently on these reports. However, it now appears that the Lakers no longer have any plans of trading Ball, despite recent attempts to make him available.
On Saturday, Ken Berger published a piece for Bleacher Report that mainly focused on Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and the offers certain NBA teams might make for him ahead of next month’s trade deadline. While the report mostly highlighted potential offers from Eastern Conference teams like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Indiana Pacers, Berger also wrote about the Lakers, noting that the team “[has] to be part of the conversation” for Beal because of the team’s hopes of adding a second superstar alongside LeBron James.
Citing unnamed NBA executives, Berger wrote that the Lakers have made three young players — guard Josh Hart, rookie forward Moritz Wagner, and center Ivica Zubac — available for trade discussions, but decided against trading “pretty much everyone else” on the team. Ball, in specific, was mentioned as someone Los Angeles does not want to move at the moment.
“At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo a little bit, but now they don’t want to trade him.”
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 19, 2019
Forwards Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, two other young players who have often been brought up as possible trade pieces whom the Lakers could move in order to acquire a superstar like Anthony Davis, were not mentioned by name in Berger’s Bleacher Report article.
Commenting on the above report, USA Today‘s Lonzo Wire wrote that it wasn’t surprising to learn that the Lakers might have felt “some sort of urgency” due to how Ball and the Lakers struggled at various points in the 2018-19 season. But with Ball stepping up his game in James’ absence and the Lakers coming off back-to-back wins over the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, things appear to have changed in such a way that the team can no longer afford to trade him, the publication added.
Regarding the young players who are reportedly being shopped around, Lonzo Wire predicted that the Lakers might only get “solid role players” in return, but not a big star who could rival James in terms of star power.
Despite frequently being criticized for his poor shooting percentages, Lonzo Ball has remained a key contributor for the Los Angeles Lakers. In 46 games this season, Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals, while shooting 40.3 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range, and 41.7 percent from the free throw line, per Basketball-Reference.