When the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball, they acquired a package deal that included his outspoken father, LaVar. In his rookie season, Lonzo has fielded questions about his father’s critiques of the Lakers, the Big Baller Brand, and his brothers’ basketball careers.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne outlines a tense, if not somewhat hostile, environment since the Ball infiltrated the Lakers organization. Among the issues Shelburne reports: The Lakers didn’t allow the family’s production team to film games for their ‘Ball In The Family’ Facebook show for free, charged Lonzo regular price for tickets, and privately admonished LaVar when poor reviews of BBB’s products were directed to the team.
While the organization has stayed mostly silent in regards to LaVar’s comments, privately, the team views him as a major distraction. One official tells Shelburne that LaVar is viewed as someone that, “reaches out with one hand and slaps us with the other.”
It has been a tumultuous, injury-filled rookie season for Lonzo, but he has shown signs of promise. While it remains to be seen whether he’ll deliver promise on that promise to an extent that makes his father’s presence worth tolerating, Magic Johnson has plenty of confidence in the partnership and no regrets about drafting the young point guard.
“He’s everything we thought he would be and more,” Johnson said. “Things are gonna work out for the Lakers and for Lonzo.”
Check out other Pacific Division news and notes below:
- While it appeared that Marquese Chriss turned a major corner less than two months ago, his game has seemingly regressed back to rookie status in his second season with the Suns, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes.
- Acquired in last summer’s Chris Paul trade, Montrezl Harrell has played well for the Clippers and has solidified his role as the backup center. It’s not easy to pinpoint one specific thing Harrell does well, but he says he just maximizes his minutes, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I just took the minutes I had and made the best of it when I got in,” Harrell said. “I just kept working on my game, off the court and on the court.”
- In spite of his team’s youth movement, Kings veteran Zach Randolph has played more than expected in recent weeks, which has allowed him to get into a groove offensively, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. “You get a good rhythm,” Randolph said. “Especially something that I’m not used to, the team developing our young players. So you get into a good rhythm, it’s important, playing and getting that feel.”