Lonzo Ball declined a workout with the Celtics, who have the No. 1 pick. He hasn’t been shy about his desire to get drafted by the second-picking Lakers, because they play in his native Southern California.
Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, expanded on how the Lakers are preferable for the UCLA guard.
“Team-wise, the Lakers are a better fit,” LaVar Ball said on the CSN CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “They (Lakers) really don’t have a leader. Boston already went to the playoffs. They have a leader.”
“Now going straight to the Lakers, they’re super-young,” LaVar Ball said. “It’s Lonzo’s team; that’s my opinion of it. Everybody else might think about it differently or something. But I’m just being realistic and thinking about it. He would be a better fit with the Lakers instead of Boston because (the Celtics are) already established and on their way up.”
If the Lakers draft Lonzo, his dad is setting him up to walk into a resentful locker room. And it’s not as if Lonzo is helping. His earlier comments on the Lakers – “They have a lot of good players. Obviously they need a leader, a point guard, and I feel like I can bring that to the team – could have been spun as more benign:
The Lakers need another leader. They need another point guard.
Lonzo wasn’t necessarily stepping so directly on Russell’s toes (though it mostly seemed he was). LaVar’s declarations make it harder to spin.
Now, his own team might have more reason to begrudge him.
This won’t be the easiest path for a rookie to acclimate.