Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
LaVar Ball threatening the Lakers with Lonzo’s future if they don’t sign his brothers
LaVar Ball has long made it clear that he wants all three of his sons to play for the Los Angeles Lakers — not just Lonzo Ball.
But while that once seemed like hyperbole from the eldest Ball, it’s now turning into actual threats against the Lakers organization if his lofty vision doesn’t materialize.
After the 2018-19 season, Lonzo’s rookie contract will end and the Lakers will have a player option for $8.7 million. Lonzo will be a restricted free agent and the Lakers can match any offer he receives, so they have all the leverage.
“I want all my three boys to play for the Lakers . . . I want [to] let every NBA team know, that Lonzo is not going to re-sign with the Lakers but will go to any team that will take all three of my boys,” Ball told Lithuanian writer Donatas Urbonas.
The eldest Ball wants the Lakers to sign LiAngelo, who was never considered an NBA-level talent even before he left UCLA in the wake of the Chinese shoplifting incident, as a free agent at $1 million for three years. The Lakers won’t have to pay him any more “cause they make so much money off the court.”
If not, LaVar says he plans to bring more Americans to play with his boys on the Lithuanian club Prienai.
“If they don’t take Gelo this year, I bring back Gelo here for two years to play with Melo,” LaVar said.
LaVar risks alienating Magic Johnson and the Lakers to the point that they trade him and move forward as they attempt to sign two max free agents, including LeBron James and Paul George.
“LaVar is on the verge of getting Lonzo traded,” Chris Broussard said on Fox Sports. “He is getting very close to ruining the career of Lonzo. Lonzo needs to step up and quiet his dad down.”
LaVar doesn’t seem to care, and promises the Lakers can win more titles with his boys as the focus.
“So now you win championship after championship on fact that my boys will never leave,” he said. “That’s what I mean championship, championship, championship.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.