If you were wondering where the tipping point was with Lonzo Ball and the Big Baller Brand, check this out.
Lonzo Ball missed the 34 games of the season with a grade three ankle sprain and bone bruise. When it was not healing as fast as some expected, Alan Foster — the co-founder of Big Baller Brand that Ball is suing for more than $2 million in lost funds — set up an ankle surgery for Ball without the Lakers’ knowledge, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
In what could have been a catastrophe, the Lakers needed to prevent point guard Lonzo Ball from undergoing a potential unauthorized surgery on his left ankle that was planned by estranged former business partner Alan Foster and with LaVar Ball’s knowledge, multiple team and league sources told The Athletic.
Lonzo Ball traveled to Ohio in late February to potentially go through with a procedure on his injured ankle, pushed by Foster, a source familiar with the situation told The Athletic. The family had experience with the doctor who would perform the procedure as he had also operated on LiAngelo Ball, the source said.
The Lakers found out about Ball’s situation when Lonzo Ball called General Manager Rob Pelinka, and the organization informed him that they would not allow it and could void his contract if he went through with the procedure, sources said. The Lakers then arranged transportation to bring Ball home, sources said. This could have been a disastrous moment for the Lakers, with a core player potentially undergoing a procedure that could have blindsided the organization.
That is nearly unprecedented. The report goes on to say Magic Johnson or Rob Pelinka accompanied Ball to future doctor visits to make sure he stayed on path with his recovery. Ball’s then-agent Harrison Gains helped stop the procedure, but Ball has switched agents and now is with CAA.
Players have disagreed with team doctors before and gotten second opinions, and there has been tension over that — see Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio for an example — but there is always communication. Especially when it comes to surgery.
Ball averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds a game this season, and showed some chemistry with LeBron. He said at his exit interview media session this week that his ankle has started to show real progress with its recovery. Ball is hoping to be healthy this summer so he can work on his conditioning and body, and add wrinkles to his game.