Per reports from Lavar Ball directly, it has made it clear that if the Los Angeles Lakers don’t invest in all three Ball brothers, Lonzo Ball may indeed leave the franchise down the road. Nearing the most recent NBA Trade Deadline, rumors across social media have forced us to assume the Lakers could be eyeing to trade the UCLA rookie eventually.
In my latest mid-week take, I explained that not only do the Lakers need to keep Ball for as long as possible, but their focus should be to build around the point guard for years to come.
Regardless of how the 2017-18 is going for Lonzo Ball, weren’t these same critics attempting to pick apart the game of Brandon Ingram? Those who held optimism for Ingram noted that he needed time to develop and adjust to the NBA, due to his young age, and those individuals were absolutely correct. Heading into All-Star Weekend, Brandon Ingram currently leads the Lakers in points per game, and is one of the most improved young players in the NBA. Why can’t the same be said for Ball?
Set to turn 21 in October, most NBA players won’t hit their primes until they are roughly 24-31 years of age. If that theory holds true, then Ball has more than enough time to improve upon his game until the criticism becomes a reality.
In addition, why are we talking about Ball, when we should be talking about the roster as a whole? Since Kobe Bryant, no superstar has been able to take grasp of the steering wheel of leadership in Los Angeles. Not a single individual on the Lakers is averaging 20+ points or 8+ rebounds per game, and Ball is actually leading the franchise with 7.1 assists per game currently. With all the potential free cap space coming up, the Lakers need to give Lonzo Ball assistance before they can expect results.
We’re talking about the possibility of trading Lonzo Ball, yet Los Angeles has yet to remain competitive without him on the court. With a current standing of 8-13 without Ball on the floor, the Lakers even underwent a losing streak of nine games during that stretch.
With the offseason on the horizon, I’m actually looking towards the 2019 free agency period. Some names to highlight that class include Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Devin Booker, and of course, Paul George. While I’m not inferring the Lakers will make offers to all these stars, the possibilities are endless for a franchise that is set to contain two open max cap spots on their active roster.
As a primary objective, securing Paul George seems like a necessity. As a Lakers fan, the hope is that the experiment in Oklahoma City eventually implodes. If it does, Los Angeles could be in for a huge break. Secondly, why not at least offer a pitch to LeBron James? While many believe James is reaching past his prime, he would instantly make Los Angeles a contender in the Western Conference.
It will take a miracle, and a whole lot of luck, but the Lakers have the cards in their hand to make a few big moves in the future. Will they finally execute their game plan, or will the hype surrounding Los Angeles be all for nothing?