Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball Undergoes Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

JULY 17, 7:41pm: Ball had surgery on Tuesday and is expected to make a full recovery by training camp, the team tweets.

JULY 13, 5:08pm: Lakers second-year point guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, the Lakers’ PR department tweets. An update on his prognosis will be made after the surgery, the team adds.

Ball is still expected to be ready for training camp, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

News of the surgical procedure doesn’t come as a surprise. Ball dealt with left knee issues for a good portion of his rookie season. It was revealed late last month that Ball had torn meniscus in the knee.

The Lakers gave themselves some protection at the point guard spot by signing Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9MM deal.

A sprained left medial collateral ligament and a left knee bruise limited Ball to 52 games in his rookie campaign. Ball was a triple-double threat every time he took the court, averaging 10.2 PPG,  6.9 RPG and 7.2 APG but shot just 36% from the field.

Lakers Rumors: LeBron, Lineup, Ball, Randle

While LeBron James is – of course – a lock to open the season in the Lakers‘ starting lineup, the team isn’t ready to pencil in the rest of its starting five quite yet, general manager Rob Pelinka said today. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com (Twitter link) relays, Pelinka told reporters that the other four spots in the Lakers’ lineup will be up for grabs. That includes the point guard position, where Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball are expected to engage in open competition.

Here are a few more Lakers-related notes and updates:

  • Lonzo Ball and his management group are evaluating options for his injured knee, according to Pelinka (Twitter link via Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet). None of the options being considered would involve a long-term recovery though, so Pelinka expects the second-year point guard to be “100% available for training camp.”
  • Asked if the Lakers considered signing Julius Randle to a long-term deal this offseason, Pelinka pointed out that the team didn’t give multiple years to anyone except LeBron, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “We did identify going into this offseason to keep cap flexibility going into 2019,” Pelinka said.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Ohm Youngmisuk pass along some Lakers contract details, with Lowe tweeting that James’ new four-year contract includes a 15% trade kicker, while Youngmisuk writes that Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk‘s 2018/19 salary of $1.5MM is guaranteed, but his second and third years are non-guaranteed. It looks like L.A. gave Mykhailiuk a larger-than-usual first-year salary in exchange for allowing the team to maximize its 2019 flexibility.
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com and Lee Jenkins of SI.com both published excellent, in-depth looks at LeBron’s free agent decision. Each piece is packed with interesting tidbits and is worth checking out in full.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Ball, Cousins, Warriors

While the Lakers‘ agreements with free agents like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee drew plenty of confusion and some criticism, the deals represent the rollout of the plan that Magic Johnson outlined to LeBron James when they met late Saturday night, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne.

As Windhorst and Shelburne detail, James’ Cavaliers squad was heavily on shooters and offensive-minded players, but lacked genuine play-makers and strong defenders. By contrast, Johnson pitched LeBron on the idea of stocking the Lakers’ roster with “tough-minded play-makers” who can free up James to work in the post and finish in the lanes, rather than having to generate all the team’s offense himself. According to Windhorst and Shelburne, some league executives are fans of the approach.

“I know some people are rolling their eyes but I like what the Lakers have done,” one rival Western Conference exec told ESPN. “You can find shooters. They’ve taken some in the last few drafts. Play-makers matter and are harder to find.”

While the Lakers haven’t focused on shooters with their first round of free agent moves, “all parties agree” that the roster could use more outside shooting, so that need still figures to be addressed, ESPN’s report notes.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Addressing news of Lonzo Ball‘s torn meniscus, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast that Lakers management didn’t want that information out there. According to Wojnarowski, there’s a belief that Ball’s camp leaked word of the injury in an effort to discourage teams from trading for him. Woj adds (via Twitter) that there’s a chance the second-year point guard will require surgery.
  • With a Warriors notebook, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes that Golden State will have an “intriguing escape hatch” if the DeMarcus Cousins experiment doesn’t work out. If Cousins is healthy by the trade deadline but isn’t fitting in with the Warriors, his modest salary and expiring contract would make him a fascinating trade chip, Slater observes.
  • In case you missed it on Wednesday, we relayed several Clippers updates, writing that the team has signed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, met with Kyle O’Quinn, and remains interested in bringing back Montrezl Harell.

L.A. Notes: Leonard, James, Rondo, Rivers

The Spurs continue to seek a high price from the Lakers in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, salary cap expert Larry Coon said in an appearance today on Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter link). Sources tell Coon that San Antonio is asking for Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, two first-rounders and the right to swap two other draft choices. “They’re just saying give us everything,” Coon said.

Coon also outlined the Lakers’ remaining cap situation, noting that the signing of Lance Stephenson with the mid-level exception will probably be the final move in free agency after all other cap space is used up.

There’s more news from Los Angeles:

  • LeBron James‘ decision to join the Lakers may give Leonard more incentive to become a Clipper, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports suggested in an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s radio show (Twitter link).
  • The Lakers are turning their attention to next summer for their next big free agent move, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The organization’s emphasis on one-year deals helps explain the odd collection of moves that have come down since James committed to L.A. Sunday night. The Lakers re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, then reached agreements with Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo, all on one-year contracts. The team expects to have about $76MM in guaranteed money next summer, possibly less if Luol Deng is waived and stretched, leaving enough to offer another max deal.
  • Rondo, whom Deveney states has wanted to join the Lakers since 2015, could take the starting point guard job away from Lonzo Ball, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. A source tells Amick that the L.A. front office has promised Rondo the chance to compete for a starting spot.
  • During an impromptu interview with TMZ, Doc Rivers explained the decision to trade his son, Austin Rivers, to the Wizards. The Clippers coach called it “the right thing for all of us” and predicts that Austin will excel in Washington.

Lakers Guard Lonzo Ball Has Torn Meniscus

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has a torn meniscus in his left knee, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. Ball is expected to be ready for training camp, Charania adds.

Ball’s injury thickens the plot as the club attempts to sign or acquire superstar talents. LeBron James had decided to opt out of his contract and the Lakers are the favorite to land him. They’re also engaged in talks with the Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard. Though it doesn’t appear Ball is part of those trade discussions, the injury increases the chances he’ll stay put.

Ball dealt with left knee issues at various points of his rookie season. A sprained left medial collateral ligament and a left knee bruise limited the point guard to 52 games. Ball was a triple-double threat every time he took the court, averaging 10.2 PPG,  6.9 RPG and 7.2 APG but shot a woeful 36% from the field.

Lonzo Ball The ‘One Constant’ In LeBron James Talks

Lonzo Balls name has been the one constant mentioned as an outgoing trade piece in the event that LeBron James decides to join the Lakers, per ESPN’s Chris B. Haynes (Twitter link).

While it’s possible that James declines his $35,607,968 player option to become a free agent, that salary actually exceeds his projected maximum salary based on a $101MM cap ($35.35MM). James could conceivably opt in and then be shipped elsewhere and the Lakers have long been connected as a potential suitor.

Ball, 20, posted a solid rookie campaign in 2017/18, averaging 10.2 PPG, 7.2 APG, and 6.9 RPG for the Lakers. However, Ball is not the lone young asset the Lakers wield as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and even RFA Julius Randle are all potential trade chips.

After yesterday’s news that Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard is seeking a trade, the Lakers once again jumped to the forefront of trade discussions. To potentially acquire either one or both of Leonard and James, the Lakers will need to part with significant young talent. Those discussions likely begin with their starting point guard.

Leonard Trade Rumors: Lakers, Kings, Knicks, Celtics, Odds

It would be a tight squeeze financially but the Lakers could conceivably acquire Kawhi Leonard in a trade and sign both LeBron James and Paul George as free agents, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Leonard’s desire to be traded from the Spurs, with Los Angeles being his preferred destination, was made public on Friday. The trade would have to be completed before any free agent signings and the Spurs would have to be willing to take back Luol Deng‘s bad contract, Pelton continues. A package of either Lonzo Ball or Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma might be enough to entice the Spurs to do that, though a third team might be needed in order to match up salaries. The Lakers could then sign James and George, and fill out the roster using their room mid-level exception along with veterans agreeing to minimum contracts, Pelton adds.

In other notes involving Leonard trade chatter:

  • The Kings could be a darkhorse to land Leonard, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. Sacramento is desperately seeking a star-level talent and is willing to part with the No. 2 pick in the draft to get one, according to Mannix.
  • The Knicks would have to part with Kristaps Porzingis to have any chance of securing Leonard, Marc Berman of the New York Post speculates. The only other major assets the Knicks possess are their lottery pick (No. 9 overall), their potential lottery pick in 2020 and last year’s lottery selection, point guard Frank Ntilikina. But the Knicks could only trade one of those picks under CBA rules and they’d also have to give up another big salary to make the trade work, Berman notes.
  • The Celtics are expected to express interest in Leonard in their quest to land superstars, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. However, a league source told Himmelsbach that the timing of the leak might actually be a negotiating ploy to secure a five-year, $219MM maximum extension from the Spurs.
  • The Lakers are the heavy favorites to land Leonard, according to the Bovada Sportsbook as relayed by Adam Zagoria of the New York Times (Twitter link). The Lakers are less than even money at 5-7 to have Leonard in their opening-night lineup. The Celtics are rated at 15-4, a little less than 4-1, to acquire Leonard. The Sixers and Spurs are next as 5-1 proposition, followed by the Cavaliers and Clippers at 10-1.

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.

Lakers Notes: Ball Family, Allen, Workouts

LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, will take part in a pre-draft workout with the team on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh, Virginia’s Devon Hall, Syracuse’s Tyus Battle and Arizona’s Dusan Ristic are also scheduled for the workout.

LiAngelo returned to the United States recently after completing his first professional season overseas with Vytautas Prienu of the Lithuanian league. He averaged 12.6 PPG during his stint. LiAngelo’s year got off to a rough start after he was arrested in China along with two other UCLA teammates on suspicion of shoplifting. Following his release, LiAngelo left the NCAA and, along with younger brother LaMelo, signed contracts with Vytautas.

“The Lakers are my priority, for sure,” LiAngelo said during a recent appearance on the Marcellus and Travis show on ESPNLA radio. “I want to play with my brother. Ever since I played with Zo, we went undefeated. When we get older, we will get stronger, faster and a better feel for the game. I’m willing to play for other teams, but my priority is to play with my brother.”

Check out more Lakers notes below:

  • LaVar Ball, the patriarch of the Ball family, has never been shy to speak his mind when it comes to his sons and his latest comments are no different. During an interview with Hoops Hype’s Alex Kennedy, LaVar said that Lonzo’s health was compromised due to the Lakers’ training tactics. “My expectation for Lonzo is for him to be twice as good as he was this year, and to be more healthy,” he said. “He understands, he went through it. If you’re going to be doing those [workouts with] rubber-bands like that dude Gunnar has him doing, that [is] bulls–t training. That’s what I call it. S–t, he wasn’t like that when I brought him over there. When he first came [to the Lakers], he never got hurt. He was never hurt.”
  • Duke’s Grayson Allen, one of the more controversial players in this year’s NBA Draft, has shown on-court potential but his composure and attitude have long been questioned. Allen worked out for the Lakers on Friday and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register examined a potential fit between L.A. and the sharpshooting Blue Devil.
  • In addition to Allen, here is the latest list of players to have participated in pre-draft workouts for the Lakers.

Lakers Rumors: Ball, Workouts, Caldwell-Pope

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is focused on gaining strength and stamina to become less injury-prone next season, teammate Kyle Kuzma told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other media members on Tuesday. Ball played in only 52 games during his rookie campaign due to a variety of ailments.

“He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time,” Kuzma said of Ball’s weight training. “You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”

In other news regarding the Lakers:

  • West Virginia guard Jevon Carter is among six prospects the Lakers will work out on Wednesday, the team announced on its website. Carter is ranked No. 44 on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list. Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton), Elijah Bryant (BYU), Trey Kell (San Diego State) and Omari Spellman (Villanova) will join Carter. Gary Trent Jr. of Duke will also be there, as previously reported.
  • The Spurs are a logical candidate to pursue free agent shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype speculates. San Antonio could lose Danny Green if he opts out of his contract. Caldwell-Pope could replace him and the Spurs have their mid-level exception to offer him, Urbina continues. The Clippers and Grizzlies may also be in the market for a starting shooting guard, though it’s possible KCP could get another one-year offer from the Lakers if they don’t land two top-level free agents, Urbina adds.
  • Kuzma was named to the league’s All-Rookie First Team while Ball earned Second Team honors. You can see the All-Rookie teams here.