Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditTuesday, October 4, 2022

Lonzo Ball

Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball for worst reason possible

Lonzo Ball

There were plenty of questions about whether Lonzo Ball was the right fit for the Los Angeles Lakers when they drafted him second overall in 2017, but Magic Johnson was committed to the star point guard from the start. Apparently that had more to do with the story than the skill set.

In a lengthy feature he published this week about the rapid ascendence of LaMelo Ball, Bill Oram of The Athletic shared some interesting information about why the Lakers drafted Lonzo. Let’s just say it’s enough to make fans in L.A. want to rip their hair out.

Lonzo was the first ever pick that Johnson made as president of basketball operations for the Lakers. Sources told Oram that Johnson and Lakers executives focused on Ball because they wanted to make a “grand slam” pick. They believed it would work out because it seemed like a Hollywood script in the making.

“It was looked at from Magic and others’ perspective as being too good of a Hollywood story to pass up,” a source told Oram. “This has to work out because it’s a perfect story. Because it’s Hollywood.”

Another source agreed, adding that “the Hollywood story was the worst thing that could have happened to him looking back.”

That should tell you all you need to know about Magic’s tenure in the Lakers’ front office. There was an uneasy feeling surrounding the Ball pick from the start, especially with all the pressure Johnson heaped on him from Ball’s introductory press conference. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss also had some insane comparisons for Ball right out of the gate.

Ball certainly seems more comfortable in New Orleans, where he is averaging 14.2 points per game with the Pelicans.

LaVar Ball goes off on Pelicans, says he hopes they trade son Lonzo

LaVar Ball

After seemingly taking an extended hiatus from the spotlight, LaVar Ball is now awakening like The Undertaker.

The controversial Ball family patriarch appeared Thursday on ESPN 710’s “Mason and Ireland.” In the interview, Ball made some eyebrow-raising comments about his son Lonzo and the New Orleans Pelicans.

“He can’t stay in New Orleans, come on man,” asserted LaVar. “Lonzo has always been a playmaker. Why are you trying to change him into a defensive specialist that stays in the corner and shoots threes? And you trying to change Zion [Williamson] and Brandon Ingram, who all through their career have never been playmakers. They’re scorers.

“I don’t know what they’re gonna do, I hope he gets traded though,” added LaVar about Lonzo. “I don’t like watching him play like he playing.”

Lonzo is having a career year with the Pelicans and is positioning himself for a nice contract as a restricted free agent this summer. But he has a much lower usage rate than teammates like Williamson and Ingram. There are also a number of reasons why New Orleans may not trade him.

That said, Lonzo did not choose to go the Pelicans in the first place. They acquired him from the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019 Anthony Davis trade. But now that he can control his destiny to an extent this summer, the 23-year-old guard already appears to have one potential destination in mind.

Report: Lonzo Ball interested in signing with Knicks

Lonzo Ball

The Big Baller Brand could soon be coming to The Big Apple.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Wednesday that New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball will have the New York Knicks “heavily” on his radar this summer. The 23-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent after the season. Berman also notes that Ball is high on the list of Knicks president Leon Rose.

Ball will be coming off his rookie contract and is setting himself up for a nice payday. He is currently averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game on a career-high 38.9 percent from deep. That has made for the best overall season of Ball’s young NBA career.

The Knicks, who will be armed with plenty of cap room, are fairly weak at point guard. They are trotting out a ragtag trio at the position of Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina, all of whom will be free agent themselves after the season. Rookie Immanuel Quickley has been a bright spot for them, but he has some combo guard capabilities as well.

New York also obviously offers unique big-market allure. That could be attractive for both Lonzo as well as his father LaVar.

Lonzo Ball feels young Pelicans are building something special

Lonzo Ball

The New Orleans Pelicans have not played particularly well over the last month, but their win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night was a reminder of their potential. Lonzo Ball is hoping to stick around with the team long enough to see that potential fulfilled.

Ball and teammates Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram combined for 75 points as the Pelicans beat the Jazz 129-124. After the game, Ball was asked if he is excited about what the future has in store for the young trio.

“For sure. I love playing with those guys. I’m also really cool with them off the floor as well,” Ball said, via ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “We’re all young. I think we can do some good things especially in the future coming up.”

Ball is a great defender, which is why many felt he would be a good fit with Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy. His offense has come around recently as well, as he has scored at last 16 points in six of the Pelicans’ last seven games. Ball averaged 16.5 points per game for the month of February.

There have been some intriguing trade possibilities mentioned for Ball, but he may have played his way out of that discussion. New Orleans now seems more likely to trade veteran guards JJ Redick and Eric Bledsoe. It would make sense for the team to try building around Ball, Williamson and Ingram given the way they are starting to click.

Lonzo Ball has played himself out of trade talks?

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball may have just taken his fate into his own hands with his excellent play of late.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Monday that there is now little expectation that the New Orleans Pelicans will move Ball before the trade deadline. Fischer adds that fellow guards JJ Redick and Eric Bledsoe still appear to be very much available, however.

The timing here hardly has to be coincidental for the 23-year-old Ball. He just wrapped up an impressive month of February where he put up 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Ball is also shooting three-pointers with much more confidence, connecting on a career-best 39.3 percent of them on the year as a whole.

There were some intriguing possible trade destinations mentioned for Ball. But his offensive game finally appears to be coming around to match his dynamic defense. Combine that with the strong chemistry that Ball shares with Zion Williamson, and you can see why the Pelicans would be smart to keep him around.

Pelicans reportedly want significant return for Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball

The New Orleans Pelicans are said to be listening to offers for Lonzo Ball, but they are not going to simply give the former No. 2 overall pick away.

Following up on a report that the Pelicans are open to trading Ball and/or JJ Redick, SNY’s Ian Begley was told by sources that Ball will only be traded “for the right asking price.” One team familiar with the situation told Begley the Pelicans will not deal Ball unless the return is significant.

Ball is set to become a restricted free agent after the season. It’s possible the Pelicans are not planning to bring him back. New Orleans is off to a 6-10 start in a strong Western Conference, so they may be more inclined to trade Ball if they fall further from contention.

The Pelicans want to build around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, and trading Ball and/or Redick would create more opportunities for young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis to develop.

Ball, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 assists per game this season. We know of at least one contending team that may have interest in acquiring him.

Report: Pelicans open to trading Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick

Lonzo Ball

The New Orleans Pelicans have gotten off to a slow start this season, and they may soon be open for business on the trade market.

The Pelicans have been receiving calls about Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that they have shown a willingness to deal both.

Ball is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, and it’s possible New Orleans may not care to bring him back. Redick, a veteran shooter, won’t be of much use to the 5-10 Pelicans if they continue to struggle, and he would draw plenty of interest from contending teams.

Sources told Charania that the Pelicans have been pleased with the job Stan Van Gundy has done in his first season. They want to build around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, and trading Ball and/or Redick would create more opportunities for young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis to develop.

Ball, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 assists per game this season. We know of at least one contending team that may have interest in acquiring him.

Clippers interested in trading for Lonzo Ball?

Lonzo Ball

An intriguing opportunity may be awaiting Lonzo Ball back in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of reported on Wednesday that the LA Clippers are among the teams interested in trading for the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Robinson also lists the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic as others with interest in Ball.

The 23-year-old Ball still has not quite found his groove with the Pelicans. He is averaging just 11.9 points and 4.4 assists per game this season. Ball is also getting somewhat fewer touches in the backcourt with the addition of Eric Bledsoe and the emergence of Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

The Clippers, currently third in the West, are a team that still lacks a true playmaking point guard. Ball is a native of nearby Chino Hills and attended college at UCLA. Thus, the potential fit is there, especially with the recent uncertainty over Ball’s future in New Orleans.

Lonzo Ball will not sign rookie contract extension with Pelicans

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball’s long-term future with the New Orleans Pelicans is in some doubt.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Ball and the Pelicans have ended talks about a long-term extension, meaning the guard will become a restricted free agent next summer. Ball’s agent, Rich Paul, stated that the two sides remain optimistic that something will eventually be worked out.

Monday is the deadline for eligible players to sign rookie contract extensions, so this is an indication that Ball and the Pelicans probably weren’t particularly close to an agreement as the deadline loomed. It’s clear that the Pelicans would like to keep Ball, though, and they would be able to match any offer the guard receives next summer even without a new contract extension.

Ball has won plaudits from his teammates and seems to have found a home in New Orleans. It’s pretty clear that there’s still an opening, and even a mutual interest, in getting something done. It just won’t happen until the summer now.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0

Lonzo Ball has become much improved shooter, says teammate JJ Redick

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball is getting some rave reviews for his shooting ability by someone who would certainly know.

New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick told reporters on Saturday that Ball, his fourth-year teammate, has turned himself into “a great shooter.”

“I literally tell him every f—ing day to shoot the ball,” said Redick, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I hate when he passes up good shots.”

Redick, one of the best pure shooters in NBA history at a 41.6 percent career mark from deep, is entering his second season as teammates with Ball. The 23-year-old Ball has faced much criticism in his career thus far for his shaky shooting and unconventional form. He took a step forward last year though, attempting 6.3 triples per game and connecting on 37.5 percent of them, both career highs.

Ball was the subject of trade rumors earlier this offseason, but he could be quietly setting himself up for a breakout in the 2020-21 campaign.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0