AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

LaVar Ball: Lonzo Ball will work out for only Lakers

18 Comments

LaVar Ball, no matter what controversy he invites, is managing the career of one of the most promising prospects in the 2017 NBA draft. So, as much as you might want to ignore him and focus on basketball, what he says matters for basketball.

And he says his son, Lonzo Ball, will have an exclusive workout schedule.

Ball, via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:

“That’s all we working out for is the Lakers,” said LaVar. “Just the Lakers. There’s nobody else that we need to workout for.”

This will probably work well for the Balls. Markelle Fultz is the consensus top prospect, and Boston will likely take him No. 1. Lonzo is the consensus second prospect, and the Lakers will probably draft him No. 2.

Lonzo has said he’d rather go to the Lakers than go No. 1, because that’d keep him close to family. LaVar is also keen on his son remaining in Southern California.

But there is downside to this plan. The No. 1 pick will earn about $4 million more than the No. 2 pick over a four-year rookie-scale contract, and Ball is decreasing his chances of the Celtics drafting him (though they still could anyway). Ball also risks the Lakers passing on him and other teams – 76ers at No. 3, Suns at No. 4, Kings at No. 5, etc. – also passing because they don’t know enough about him. There’s a floor on a potential fall, because Lonzo looked so good at UCLA. But the possibility of a small tumble, and commensurate financial loss, exists.

If the Balls get indication closer to the draft the Lakers might not pick him, Lonzo could always work out with other teams. This makes sense as an initial plan, not one to keep at all costs.

Teams hold so much control over players entering the NBA. Managing their own workout destinations is one way players hold leverage in the process. If Lonzo prioritizes playing in Los Angeles, more power to him.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

1 Comment

Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

Leave a comment

Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
2 Comments

Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.