During Game 2 of the 2019 NBA playoffs between the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic, Lonzo Ball joined the House of Highlights Show.
Ball was one of many players rumored to be leaving the Los Angeles Lakers at the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline. The media circus and endless reports that surrounded the Lakers were all focused on the young core.
While many players understand the game is also a business, it seemed to have a lasting effect that made its way on to the court.
Ball seemed to agree the trade deadline affected the team. While many of the young core downplayed the trade rumors, Ball was very candid in his thoughts on how they performed, according to House of Highlights:
“I think that kind of was leading to our downfall I think a little bit just because everybody’s name was in it. It kind of messed up some things.”
During the Anthony Davis trade rumors, Ball made it known that the New Orleans Pelicans were not one of his ideal destinations. Instead, the 21-year-old reportedly wanted to join a team that did not have a point guard like the Chicago Bulls or Phoenix Suns — if traded.
However, Ball made it clear that Los Angeles is where he hopes to play:
“There was a lot of stuff that just started coming out. Obviously, I wanted to be in LA, but at the end of the day, I just want to play. Wherever that may be, it wasn’t a big deal to me. My primary choice is to stay.”
The Los Angeles area has always been home to Ball. After finishing his high school career at Chino Hills, Ball stayed local and took his talents to UCLA.
Although Ball had another injury-hampered season, his play on defense improved greatly. The former No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was one of only three Lakers with a positive defensive plus-minus and finished third on the team in steals.