No one was happier than LaVar Ball when the Los Angeles Lakers landed the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft lottery.
It all but guaranteed his son Lonzo would be available to stay in the city where he’s grown up, and it was a chance for the Lakers to get yet another young piece to help the franchise return to respectability.
But what if that’s not the right move for the Lakers? What if they could trade some of their young talent for a much-needed superstar to help them compete right away? It actually makes some sense. Here are a few reasons why:
1. LaVar Ball is too much of a headache for the Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Magic Johnson denied Lonzo’s dad would be a factor in evaluating the UCLA star, but it’s become clear that LaVar and the Big Baller Brand have become a serious problem. How much of a distraction will Ball be with the press if the Lakers aren’t doing enough for his son if they draft him? Even with Ball, L.A. might not be truly competitive for a year or two. How will LaVar Ball handle that?
The other question here is: Would Ball hold out if another team besides the Lakers drafted him? Let’s save that for another time. Right now, we’re looking at this from the Lakers’ perspective, and that’s not their problem if they end up with George.
2. Paul George is from Los Angeles
That’s pretty much all you need to know about the Palmdale native. And there have been a whole bunch of rumors that he’d love to play in his hometown team.
3. George just lost some incentive to extend his contract with the Indiana Pacers
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The All-NBA teams were named on Thursday and George wasn’t one of them. What does that mean? From USA TODAY Sports:
Per the rules of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, George would have been eligible for the designated player exception — and a five-year contract with Indiana worth roughly $210 million (approximately $70 million more than any other team could offer) — had he been named to one of the three All-NBA teams.
The Pacers just lost a big advantage in negotiating with their superstar. Uh-oh.
4. The Lakers need to motivate George to want to re-sign with L.A.
The strange thing about talking about a George deal is the fact that he can opt out of his contract after 2017-18. So couldn’t the Lakers just wait to sign him in a year and draft Ball or another talent with the No. 2 pick?
Here’s some great reasoning from ESPN.com’s Ramond Shelburne why a Lakers trade now makes sense:
If another team trades for him this summer, he could fall in love with that franchise, and I don’t think the Lakers can take that chance. For example, what if the Celtics make the move and George is the piece that gets them past the Cavs in the Eastern Conference? I don’t think the Lakers can take that chance.
I’ve written why the Celtics should trade their No. 1 pick and some pieces to grab George from Indiana, so getting him before Boston does is important.
5. The Lakers already have a young, developing guard
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Alright, this is the weakest reason. D’Angelo Russell could theoretically play along with Ball as an off-the-ball guard, or it might take him and the No. 2 in a package to get George. But there are rumors swirling that the Lakers could take Ball and trade Russell.
Does that really make sense? Russell is still a young up-and-coming guard, just two years removed from being the No. 2 overall pick and looking, at times, like he was living up to some of the hype after a disastrous rookie season. Giving up on him so soon or interfering with his development seems like a weird call.
6. The Pacers don’t want to lose George and get nothing in return
I know, we said we were looking at things from the Lakers’ perspective, but if you’re Indiana’s front office, you don’t want George walking and getting nothing in return. That’s why, hopefully, there are calls being made to Los Angeles this week.
This news has been published by title Skip Explains Why The Lakers Shouldn’t Trade Lonzo Ball
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