Lonzo Ball

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Lonzo Ball says he played in defective shoes to promote Big Baller Brand

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Lonzo Ball entered the NBA with a ton of attention – because he was the No. 2 overall pick, because he played for the Lakers and because LaVar Ball hunted publicity.

And because Lonzo had his own very expensive signature shoe.

LaVar was the face of Big Baller Brand, but Lonzo was so important to the company’s viability. Lonzo could prove its shoes were actually good enough for elite basketball players.

There was plenty of contradictory evidence, though. Lonzo frequently wore other brands’ shoes. He also hurt his ankle multiple times. The Lakers even asked him whether his Big Ball Brand shoes contributed to his injuries. Lonzo denied it.

But now he’s revealing how he and his manager, Darren Moore, concealed the truth.

Ball on LightHarted Podcast:

Them ZO2s I was playing in, they was not ready.

No one knows this, but D-Mo had a backpack, and he had like an extra four pairs of shoes in there, because I had to switch them every quarter, because they would just rip.

I’m like, “Yo, I’m not playing in them shoes.” Like, “I don’t care bro.”

Because they’re my shoes. I had to debut them. We went so far with it.

I’m like, “Cool, I can get a quarter in. But that’s it. We’ve got to switch them every quarter.” And nobody noticed. And by the end of that quarter, they were beat up. And it’s crazy, right when I switched my shoes, then all of a sudden magically I got good again.

Lonzo also reportedly nearly underwent unauthorized surgery, a procedure planned by former business partner Alan Foster and approved by LaVar.

It seems too few people have had Lonzo’s best interests at heart.

Hopefully, that’s changing.

Now with the Pelicans, Lonzo could still have a bright future in the NBA. It’s just important he stays healthy. Safe shoes and proper medical advice would be a good start.

Lonzo Ball said he found out he was traded on Twitter

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He knew it was coming. Lonzo Ball had heard his name in trade rumors tied to Anthony Davis all the way back at the trade deadline, he knew the Lakers wanted another star in Anthony Davis, and that the Pelicans liked him and wanted him as part of any potential deal.

Still, when the news comes it’s a surprise. Players expect to learn of that surprise because their agent calls them. Or maybe a team’s GM.

But more and more are learning via Twitter, from NBA news breakers. That’s how Lonzo Ball learned he was officially headed to the Pelicans, he told Big Boy on The Real 92.3 in Los Angeles. (Via House of Highlights)

News moves so fast in the NBA, this is how players learn of trades more and more. It’s not that Rob Pelinka didn’t want to call all the guys involved, but things move fast.

Of course, Lonzo is going to try to use this for fuel. Hence the quotes about him taking it personally — “They got rid of you. They don’t want you no more.” — but he also knows that’s the business.

Lonzo is set up to have a big season in New Orleans. He will pay the point next to Jrue Holiday, who is primarily a two-guard now, in what will be a strong defensive backcourt. Ball is at his best in the open court, playing on instinct and feel, and the Pelicans push the tempo as much as any team in the league under Alvin Gentry. Ball also will have some impressive athletic forwards — Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson — to feed the rock to in transition.

Ball got traded from the team he grew up wanting to play for, but where he landed may be better for him and his career.

 

Pelicans emerge from gloomy end to Anthony Davis era with Zion Williamson, bright future

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Pelicans hired a lead executive with a championship pedigree. They deftly handled a superstar trade request, securing a massive return. They made savvy additions through draft, trade and free agency.

But the very best thing to happen to New Orleans this offseason was the bounce of ping-pong balls.

Despite holding just a 6% chance, the Pelicans won the lottery. They of course used the No. 1 pick on Zion Williamson – a generational prospect whose potential, age and contract status makes him even more valuable than Anthony Davis, both generally and specifically to this team.

This is my third year, grading offseasons. Before this, I hadn’t reckoned with how to account for lottery results. The Kings have been big risers the previous two years. In 2017, they jumped five spots to the No. 3 pick, but because of a previous pick swap, had to move down closer to their original slot. Last year, Sacramento jumped to No. 2, but pick a player (Marvin Bagley III) I ranked lower, anyway.

This wild lottery demanded a judgment on whether to include the drawing.

Ultimately, I’m grading teams’ offseason results, not the teams’ offseason decision-making. So, I am including lottery results in the grade.

That’s a big reason the Pelicans perform so well. T

heir decision making was also excellent, though.

They secured maximum return from the Lakers for Davis. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick, two future first-rounders (including a deferment right on one) and a first-round swap rights another year? That’s a dream package.

New Orleans compounded the return by flipping the No. 4 pick, a late second-rounder or two and Solomon Hill‘s burdensome contract to the Hawks for the Nos. 8, 17 and 35 picks and a potential future first-rounder. That’s such great value for the Pelicans.

No. 8 pick Jaxson Hayes and No. 17 pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker both looked good in summer league. (No. 35 Marcos Louzada Silva will spend next season overseas.)

New Orleans instantly formed a deep young group to grow around Williamson.

The Pelicans still have a prime Jrue Holiday, who I deemed worthy of All-NBA last season. If even a couple of the youngsters make a leap, New Orleans could compete for the playoffs next season.

To that end, New Orleans added a couple quality veterans. The Pelicans signed J.J. Redick to a two-year, $26.5 million contract. They also traded just a couple second-rounders for Derrick Favors, whose unguaranteed salary the Jazz had to unload.

Darius Miller re-signed for $7.25 million next season with a $7 million unguaranteed salary the following year. That’s a high number for him, but that contract could be more useful in a trade than if he were making less.

New Orleans is well-situated for the present and future with a variety of possible paths forward. That’s incredible considering the malaise Davis’ trade request instilled.

Getting Williamson changed everything. The Pelicans are doing their best to make the most of the addition.

Offseason grade: A

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s ‘pretty close’ to resuming normal workouts

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METAIRIE, La. — Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s “pretty close” to resuming normal workouts as he continues to recover from surgery to address a blood clot in his right arm.

Ingram says he has not resumed shooting, but has worked on his shooting form while also conducting ball-handling and passing drills, as well as lower-body workouts.

Ingram did not give a specific timeline for his return to full basketball activities with the Pelicans, the team to which the Lakers traded him this offseason as part of a multi-player and multi-draft pick deal for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis.

Ingram spoke about his health on Tuesday during formal introductions at Pelicans headquarters for him and three other new players: guard Lonzo Ball, swing player Josh Hart, and center Derrick Favors.

Ball and Hart also were part of the Davis trade. Favors was traded by Utah to New Orleans.

Ingram was averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds last season before he was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis in early March.

Brandon Clarke named Summer League MVP, leads Grizzlies to Vegas title

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Brandon Clarke made his mark in Las Vegas.

The No. 21 pick in June out of Gonzaga, he averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in leading the Grizzlies to the championship game, and for that he was named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

(That award has been won by Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin and John Wall, but also Josh Shelby and Glen Rice Jr. Most winners of the award had good careers as role players — Randy Foye, Jerryd Bayless, whatever Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart become — but it’s a mistake to think it’s a precursor of NBA dominance.)

Clarke wasn’t done, he had 15 points and 16 rebounds in the championship game, leading the Grizzlies past the Timberwolves 95-92. Memphis is your 2019 NBA Summer League Champions.

Memphis raced out to a 15-point lead early in the title game.

In the end, it was a balanced attack that won Memphis the game. Grayson Allen led the way 17 points, but Clarke, Bruno Caboclo, and Dusty Hannah’s all had 15 points, while Tyler Harvey added a dozen.

Minnesota was led by Kelan Martin with 19 points.