Lonzo Ball faces Lakers’ reality: ‘If I get traded…’
Lonzo Ball was the subject of trade talks last month, but the second-year point guard presently is concentrating only on getting healthy, whether his future is with LeBron James and the Lakers or with another NBA team.
“At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control. If I get traded, then I get traded,” Ball told The Athletic. “But I’m going to be ready to go. The goal is to be the best player I can for whichever team.”
Ball was among several Lakers included in failed discussions before the February trade deadline involving Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis. The Lakers, along with the Celtics, are expected to pursue Davis in a trade again this offseason.
The second overall pick in the 2017 draft out of UCLA has been shut down for the season with a sprained ankle suffered on Jan. 19. He has appeared in 99 out of a possible 164 games over his first two seasons, averaging 10.0 points and 6.4 assists per game.
“I’m very, very motivated,” said Ball, who also suffered a knee injury late in his rookie season. “I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy.
“It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”
As for what he plans to work on this summer, Ball added, “Obviously, improving everything on the basketball court: My shooting, finishing. But for my body, working on my legs, and make sure they’re strong and ready. I didn’t get to do any leg work last summer. This is going to be a new summer, most definitely.”
The Lakers were 25-22 when Ball was injured Jan. 19 in Houston, but they have lost 14 of their last 20 games to fall out of playoff contention in the West, seven games behind the Clippers for the eighth playoff position. James also missed 18 games earlier this season after suffering a groin injury on Christmas.