In the lead-up to the 2017 NBA Draft, no prospect has been talked about more than UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. Though much of it has to do with the outspoken nature of his father LaVar, no one can deny Lonzo’s talent. Furthermore, with the Los Angeles Lakers landing the second overall pick, Ball is in a position to play for his hometown team.
Of course, the Boston Celtics could change those plans as they hold the top pick and could feasibly draft Ball. Most have the Celtics taking Markelle Fultz with the top pick, but Boston wants to do their homework on all the top prospects which include bringing Ball in for a workout.
In an appearance on the Toucher & Rich radio show in Boston, Celtics president Danny Ainge revealed that the Ball camp declined their invitation for a workout, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
“We don’t deal with [Ball’s camp] all that much. They didn’t show up at the combine, which is very common — many of the top 10 or 15 players don’t show up for the combine. … We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no.”
Ball declining the workout shouldn’t be surprising as immediately following the NBA Draft Lottery, LaVar told Lakers Nation that Lonzo would only workout for the Lakers. Ainge did make sure to note that Ball declining doesn’t rule him out for the Celtics:
Ainge said it’s not an ideal situation, with the Celtics eager to evaluate all top talent while owning the No. 1 pick. But he noted that the Celtics have drafted players who didn’t work out for them in the past.
While the Celtics may have drafted players who didn’t work out for them in the past, it seems highly unlikely that they would use the top overall pick on someone who they didn’t get a close look at. Ball isn’t the first player to decline workouts in hopes of landing with a certain team, and he won’t be the last.
It is looking more and more destined for Ball to land with the Lakers. Magic Johnson recently said that Lonzo reminds him of himself at that age and should the Lakers draft him in June, they will be hoping he has the same impact Magic had when he entered the league.