After being quiet for some time, LaVar Ball, father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, once again made headlines by claiming that his son would leave the organization when his contract is up if they didn’t sign LiAngelo and LaMelo.
The last time LaVar made major headlines it was due to him criticizing head coach Luke Walton, claiming he lost control of the team and locker room. When that happened, Walton maintained that there was no need for the Lakers to respond to the parents of any player.
The front office contingent of owner Jeanie Buss, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka came under some criticism for not speaking up on Walton’s behalf, though Buss eventually tweeted her support.
Johnson revealed it was at his behest the organization didn’t publicly address LaVar’s criticism, in part because there wasn’t a need to, via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“Look, we had lost nine in a row and you didn’t hear nothing from me, right? I was supporting Luke through all nine in a row,” Johnson says. “So now, LaVar comes out and says something, and everybody asks, ‘Why didn’t you say nothing?’
“I’m not gonna respond to people saying different things. [Walton] already had my vote of confidence. There’s never been a question about his job security here. But everybody else was trying to make a big deal out of it. I was good with Luke, I was good with Jeanie. So I said we should do nothing because if we react to this, now any time somebody says something about the Lakers, we gotta react.
“We know what we have, we know who we are. And the team responded, and we’re better. So I’m happy we just didn’t jump out there.”
Lonzo has tended to be unaffected by anything his father does or says as he’s been dealing with it for his whole life. Meanwhile, the Lakers seem content in continuing to take the high road in regards to LaVar, but it has allowed him to carry on with saying whatever he wants.
These most recent comments are worrisome because it affects the entire future of the franchise should they be true. If Lonzo really does plan on leaving to play with his brothers, the Lakers will likely have to trade him away before his contract is up.
But, plenty would need to transpire, including Lonzo forgoing a rather substantial guarantee contract, for the scenario to possibly play itself out as LaVar says it will.
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