On Monday morning, it became official, as ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar big man, Anthony Davis, is requesting a trade and had chosen not to sign a contract extension with the team. This request was confirmed by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, and later acknowledged by the Pelicans in a statement, and with the trade rumors firing up in the aftermath of these new developments, a lot of these reports have centered on the Los Angeles Lakers, who have long been linked to the 25-year-old forward/center.
While these rumors have suggested that the Lakers may be willing to part ways with some players from their young core in order to acquire Davis, it now appears that one of these youngsters, point guard Lonzo Ball, might not be too willing to play in New Orleans if the Lakers pull off a trade for the All-NBA big man. On Monday afternoon, the Athletic‘s Shams Charania took to Twitter and explained that Ball’s camp would prefer that Lonzo be sent to a third team that “doesn’t have an established point guard,” in the event that trade talks between the Lakers and Pelicans become productive.
Reacting to the new rumors, CBS Sports pointed out that “Lonzo Ball’s camp” likely refers to one person alone — the 21-year-old guard’s outspoken father, Big Baller Brand founder LaVar Ball. With that in mind, the news outlet opined that the younger Ball “doesn’t really appear to be in position” to demand that a third team be involved in any trade talks for Anthony Davis, given how he hasn’t completely lived up to expectations as the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and how the Pelicans have their own share of point guard issues.
Lonzo Ball reportedly would rather the Lakers trade him to another team besides Pelicans because he doesn’t want to end up somewhere with an "established point guard." https://t.co/Sn7z4psXSm— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) January 29, 2019
“True, [the Pelicans] have Jrue Holiday, but he’s transitioned into more of a shooting guard role, while the likes of Elfrid Payton, Tim Frazier and Frank Jackson have been playing most of the point guard minutes in New Orleans,” wrote CBS Sports‘ Jack Maloney.
“None of those three is so good that Ball couldn’t compete with them. And if his camp feels they are, that’s probably a bigger problem than where he might have to play.”
Before he went down with a Grade 3 ankle sprain during the Lakers’ January 19 game against the Houston Rockets, Ball was averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game for Los Angeles, per Basketball-Reference. Meanwhile, the Pelicans’ starting point guard, Elfrid Payton, has posted similar numbers for New Orleans while also dealing with injuries earlier in the season, with his averages currently at 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game.
Similarly commenting on the conditions allegedly imposed by Lonzo Ball’s camp, Silver Screen and Roll posited that “there aren’t a whole lot of ways” they could get their request, as Ball is still under the rookie contract he signed last season, and that the Lakers and Pelicans would have the final word on what happens in any trade situation.
“Lonzo’s camp is just going to have to accept that he’s no longer the biggest baller in town, and will have to deal with whatever decision the Lakers and Pelicans come to without a whole lot of avenues for recourse,” the publication wrote.