As the Los Angeles Lakers were preparing for 2018 NBA free agency, the expectation was they would use the two available max-contract slots to pursue a pair of All-Stars and vault their way back into contention.
Though, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson cautioned the team was approaching matters under the scope of a two-year window. After signing LeBron James at the outset of free agency, there were rumblings over what the Lakers would do next.
James was said to be fond of the team’s young core, yet trade speculation involving Kawhi Leonard persisted. The Lakers ultimately filled out their roster with a slew of veterans on one-year contracts.
Now the likes of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma have often been tied to a potential trade for Anthony Davis should he seek to part ways with the New Orleans Pelicans. Some also believe any one of the quarter could be used in other possible trades.
According to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, the Lakers once made Ball available but have since decided to keep the young point guard:
“At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo [Ball] a little bit, but now they don’t want to trade him,” one of the execs said.
While Ball has shown flashes of potential, much like during his rookie season, criticism has stemmed from inconsistency. Lakers head coach Luke Walton was critical of Ball and Ingram after a recent loss, to which they both responded with improved performances.
Although external pressure and criticism often surrounds Ball, he’s regularly lauded by those in the locker room. James gave the 21-year-old a vote of confidence when he said they are similar players and Ball will eventually learn ‘how great’ of a player he is.
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