Lakers Notes: Ball, Kuzma, Bryant, Magic

Rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma have gotten a lot of attention for their good-natured insults on social media, but the Lakers have talked to them about scaling it back, according to Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

The jabs are usually about fashion, food or something harmless, but team officials became concerned when Ball released a song that mentioned Kuzma’s lack of a relationship with his biological father. Both players agreed to tone down the ribbing.

Two years ago, the Lakers were caught in a social media controversy involving Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell that led to Russell being ostracized in the locker room. Neither player is still with the team.

There’s more Lakers news from Los Angeles:

  • Ball received a platelet-rich plasma shot in his left knee last month and was cleared for basketball activities last week, Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Ball, who sat out the last eight games of the season with a knee contusion, called it a minor injury that didn’t require surgery. The Lakers want Ball to increase his strength this summer and become less susceptible to injuries. “Just been in the weight room, trying to put on that weight,” he said. “And on the court, a lot of ballhandling, a lot of shooting. I am trying to critique everything and fine tune and get ready for next year.”
  • Kobe Bryant will have a limited role in the Lakers’ pursuit of free agents this summer, relays Tom Schad of USA Today. Bryant said this week he will call any potential targets if asked, but he won’t sit in on recruiting meetings. “If the players have questions, or if [the Lakers] want me to reach out and call a player or something like that, talk to the player, kind give my two cents on what it was like to play here in this market, I’ll certainly do that,” Bryant said on The HoopsHype Podcast. “But in terms of being part of the meeting in any official way, the answer is no.”
  • The Lakers need a strong performance from president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to help land a couple of elite free agents, writes Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. He contends that Johnson was given a front office position so he could use his celebrity and reputation to help attract stars.
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37 thoughts on “Lakers Notes: Ball, Kuzma, Bryant, Magic

  1. Dionis

    Magic needs to get that clown Lonzo right or trade him. You are supposed to represent the Laker organization and you carry yourself like a clown kid, joking about personal stuff with a teammate. A little jabbing is nothing but putting out diss tracks? Why is Magic allowing this garbage to go on?

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    • MZ311

      Just look at the father. A perfect role model for Lonzo.

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  2. hiflew

    Of course you really have to consider which is better, having no biological father or having one like LaVar Ball. I’d think you’d at least have a chance to be something other than a vicarious athlete with no father at all.

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      • Dodgethis

        I was thinking the same thing. Didn’t Lonzo softball Kylie the perfect response. “I’d rather not know my dad than find out it’s some reject like lavar!”

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        • yoyo137

          Lavar Ball would then come out with a diss track to Kuzma

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  3. Kenleyfornia74

    For all the flack Zo gets he is still easily a top 3 player in his draft class easy. Lakers werent evem the ones who traded a 1st round pick NOT to take Tatum

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    • FromTheCheapSeats

      Lonzo Ball isn’t even the best rookie on his own team.

      He’s light years away from Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell, and I can think of half a dozen other rookies I’d take ahead of him, starting with Dennis Smith, Jr.

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      • Kenleyfornia74

        Agree on Tatum and Mitchell thats why i said top 3. But tbh Lonzos numbers arent even that bad compared to Tatum. You said half a dozen but proceed to name 1 guy. I can respect Dennis smith jr but not much outside those 3 over Lonzo. Mitchell and Kuzma were not 1 and done guys and thats pretty big to factor in

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        • southbeachbully

          FG%/3PT%/FT%

          Lonzo- 36%/30%/45%
          Tatum- 47%/43%/82%

          Dude….not even close. (in my Bob Marley voice) “Don’t let ’em FOOL ya”. Those counting numbers are pretty but don’t tell nearly the story.

          Whether or not they’re one and done shouldn’t matter either.

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          • Kenleyfornia74

            Lonzo is a pass first player so i wouldn’t judge him completely on those numbers. Lonzo averaged 1.9 more rebounds and Tatum is a forward.

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            • southbeachbully

              Whether or not you’re a pass first might play a factor in the total number of points. However, when teams leave you WIDE OPEN for a shot 10 ft or more from the basket AND you shoot a low percentage from the floor AND the FT line then that’s to the detriment to the team. Why make excuses for him? He sucks as far as shooting is concerned, and really, the less than 50% from the FT line should be absolutely an alarming stat for your primary ball handler. And again, telling me had 2 more rebounds than Tatum means nothing considering. There needs to be two stats called “empty rebounds” and “coincidental assists”. If you’re just standing there 4 on 1 in the post and the ball bounces off and lands in your hand should be weighted less than let’s say a rebound grabbed in traffic with opponents battling you for the ball. There’s also a lot of, “handing the ball off” and the guy shoots a 3pt shot that goes in as opposed to transition offense where the player makes a bounce pass in traffic or kicks out for an open 3. Not all rebounds and assists are created equal and the games I watched it just seems Lonzo had a lot of empty stats that didn’t really effect the game or help his team demonstratively. At THIS point in his very, very young career he seems like a stat padder.

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    • Rony

      I can understand the pre-draft hype, even if i don’t like it, but hyping him now that everybody knows that the kid has no motor, has garbage shooting mechanics and last but not least he has Lavar, is kinda ridiculous. Tatum, Mitchell, Markkanen, Kuzma, even non versatile bigs like J.Colins, Allen and Adebayo are way ahead of him, even Dillon Brooks is ahead of him. Come on

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        • Rony

          ”he is still easily a top 3 player in his draft class easy”, No he isn’t. He is a product of pure hype. That doesn’t mean that he is bad or not a top 10 talent.

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      • Kenleyfornia74

        Lol not giving him any time to develop. What he is now is exactly who he is. Even with poor shooting skills he still averaged 10 a game in his first season. Theres no way on earth in a re draft anyone takes Allen, Adebayo or Brooks before Ball.

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        • Rony

          I agree with your last phrase and i wish Lonzo the best. I think his father is the one that doesn’t give him the time to develop.

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    • Bryzzo2016

      Easily top 3? Ok, you should be banned from talking about basketball and perhaps really anything. He’s not even the best rookie on his team. He’s all hype, all fluff. EVERY GM in the league, if given the opportunity to re draft, would take Tatum, Mitchell, Markkanen, Smith Jr., Kuzma (even though he fell off big time) etc… so he is “easily” a bad pick at this point, not even considering the absolute embarrassment and headache that his father is.

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      • Kenleyfornia74

        You citing his father as a reason to bag him makes you the one who should be banned from basketball. Lavar hasnt even been that bad for months now. If Lebrons dad was like Lavar would it be an issue? Nope. Lonzo gets so much hate its hilarious. Funny thing is i have conceded Tatum ( who plays on a much better team with a geat coach) and Mitchell are better. Lonzo averaged more assists and rebounds than many elite PG’s in the game at his age 20 season. But hey im a fool for liking that i guess

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        • Rony

          I don’t agree with comments like ” you should be banned from talking about basketball and perhaps really anything”, i’m sure that Bryzzo doesn’t mean that. So, first of all, there is no Lebrons dad, thats a sensitive subject and we have to respect it and second, Lavar just said that if the Lakers don’t draft his other son Gelo, then they have to trade Lonzo so to play with his brother. Thats pure garbage my friend, the kid is done.

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          • Kenleyfornia74

            I didnt know about lebrons dad situation but that was just an example that applies to any star. KD, curry, Kyrie anyone. Point is judging lonzo by his skills is fair. His dads comments not so much. Personally im higher on Ball than most because his floor is high, making him a safe pick. If he cant score he can do enough as a guard to still help the team.

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  4. Chris

    Track was funny. Everyone needs to lighten up. Now we can’t make fun of Kuz’s fleece anymore

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  5. all in ad

    Tragic Johnson must move the Ball circus out of town. Think LBJ wants to be around that? PG from Fresno….he wouldn’t mind.

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  6. x%sure

    Is Lebron and Chris Paul off the table in LA? I assume not but there is some issue about Paul getting a max contract. Some GMs would not offer that to him.

    But there are probably some rolls of the dice where James goes to LAL with Paul but not with George. (Ringo IDK)

    There shouldn’t be a problem with Lonzo, Hart and Paul combining in the backcourt but Ingram plays Lebron’s position. There would likely be a trade of Ingram for cheap players. Money would be very tight… no Bird-rights players are on the roster!

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    • FromTheCheapSeats

      If Lebron and Chris Paul play together next year, it’ll be in Houston. Harden is better than any other “third piece” they could come up with in L.A.

      And if Paul stays in Houston, the Rockets without Lebron are better than the Lakers with him.

      I don’t understand why anyone thinks L.A. is a legit possibility. I’ve got it…

      1. Houston
      2. Philly
      3. Cleveland
      4. New York
      5. Boston

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      • southbeachbully

        This team never gets mentioned in the LBJ pursuit but I tell you one team that would be down right scary if these fall in place. New Orleans Pelicans.

        Can you imagine if they bring back Cousins and Rondo and sign LBJ?

        PG-Rondo (great ball handler, leader, defensive minded seasoned veteran w/ championship exp and a killer mentality. Matches with Curry’s size)

        SG-Holiday (great scorer and another ball handler. Good size can match with Klay).

        SF-LBJ (you already know).

        PF-Davis- (great defensive big, great scorer. Would probably be a good match up with Durant on defense and can probably out muscle Durant on offense on the block and hit the outside shot too. Great rebounder).

        C-Cousins (Simply no answer for him offensively. He would down right dominate Durant and abuse Draymond. Also a great ball handler who can create his own shot if a play breaks down. Great rebounder. Good outside shooter and a slept on passer).

        You would have 4 guys who averaged 4 assists or more. 3 guys that can give you 8-12 rebounds per game. The Pelicans were 8th in steals and 3rd in blocks.

        And this team has that nasty boy attitude. If I were LBJ I would love to go to war with some “bad asses” like Rondo and Cousins. I think LBJ would bring that veteran leadership. Would NOT have to handle the ball as much as he has in the past and would could take plays off by simply dropping it in the post or letting Rondo initiate the offense. He would take a hit on his scoring stats but everything else should excel, especially assists.

        Pelicans can create cap space by trading attractive contracts of useful players like E’twuan Moore (2/$17 mil) and Nikola Mirotic (1/$12 mil). I’m sure they could get some vets in for the minimum as the Pelicans would have to be rated the greatest challenge to the Warriors.

        Thoughts?

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        • FromTheCheapSeats

          That’d be ridiculous.

          I’d have to really dig into the numbers, but it seems like it would be impossible to re-sign Cousins and give Lebron a max deal.

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      • x%sure

        Houston has two other big salaries, with plams on Capela too. There’s not enough room.

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  7. cesc

    Love that scenario with The King gonna NOLA, definitely they would destroy Golden State no doubt about it, never thought about it, what a great team they would have if it could be made to happen.

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  8. cesc

    Why everybody hates on Lonzo, the man is really good, to me this year he was only behind Simmons & at the exact same level than Donovan, ahead of all the other rookies. Cannot understand why people don’t like him, seems to be people love to hate on him, which usually signals how great he is/gonna be. Many players that get lots of hate here are some of the best in the league, suppose lots of people are jealous of him & the Lakers, only way I can explain that, this year he was very good for a rookie, top guy.

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    • southbeachbully

      I respect your opinion. I just don’t think it’s based on facts. I mean, the number are what the numbers are. You can stick my 40-ish yo behind in a jersey and I can get you a few rebounds and a few assists. But when it comes to what happens when he tries to shoot the ball then he’s horrible on all accounts. Horrible.

      36% FG?

      30% 3pt shooting and you take 5 or 6 shots a game?

      45% from the FT line…..from a point guard?

      Dude…….rebounds and assists can be deceiving.

      Donovan-) 44% – 34% – 80% and 10 pts more per game than Lonzo and had a respectable 4 rebounds and 4 assists a game as a shooting guard.

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      • Kenleyfornia74

        This is more responding to the comment up there. Lonzo missed 30 games. He is definitely a boom or bust player. His first 2 games say it all. First game terrible. Second game triple double. When he is on he can compete with anyone in his rookie class

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        • knickscavsfan

          But can he shoot? Until he can prove he needs to be guarded and can hit FT he will be minimized offensively. I really think we’ve become to enamired with triple doubles. Look at Westbrook the king of em. He had Durant, Harden, Oladipo, PG and Melo and failed to make any of them better players or win. I’ve never seen a high profile guard so bad at all 3 forms of shooting/scoring. It’s clear he should’ve stayed in college. I think his brothers will struggle too.

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          • Kenleyfornia74

            His brothers are not good agree on that. Dont see how he should stay in college when his stock was high enough to be a #2 pick. If he stays in college the same thing happens this season expert he doesnt get to go to his #1 choice

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            • southbeachbully

              Ok…his college hype was good enough for the Lakers to buy into it and make him a #2 overall pick. What do the numbers say? That he can’t shoot at all. There’s a lot of guys with a lot of talent that come out in these 1 and done situations. Some of them clearly needed more time to develop. In most situations, teams would allow them the time to do so. Under Magic he was almost vaulted into stardom with expectations that we now see were a rush of judgement. His shot is fundamentally flawed.

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              • Kenleyfornia74

                His shot was flawed in college. We pretty much knew that.

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                • southbeachbully

                  That’s my point. He needs to improve and it may take a whole until he’s worth the money or the hype.

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