Earlier this week, LaVar Ball told Lithuanian media he would pull his son Lonzo Ball away from the Los Angeles Lakers if they didn’t acquire his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo.
As usual, Lonzo offered little comment on his boisterous father’s remarks.
“No reaction,” Lonzo told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne of LaVar’s threat. “I always just play. He always talks. It’s always been the same way.”
LaVar Ball revealed his plan to have all three of his sons play together in an interview with Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas:
“I want all my three boys to play for the Lakers. But if that does not happen, I’m telling you the story what’s gonna happen first. If they don’t take Gelo this year, I bring Gelo here to play with Melo for two years. Lonzo will be on his third year and 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 of my three boys. That’s my plan.”
LiAngelo and LaMelo are currently playing for Vytautas Prienai–Birstonas of the Lithuanian Basketball League. LiAngelo, 19, will be eligible for the NBA draft in June. LaMelo, 16, will not be eligible until the 2020 draft.
Lonzo is under contract with the Lakers through the 2020-21 season, assuming the team exercises both of its options on his rookie deal. He cannot be a free agent until 2021, at which point he’d be a restricted free agent. The Lakers would then have the ability to match any contract he signs on the free-agent market.
LaVar’s chance to force Lonzo’s way out of the Lakers organization would come in the 2022 offseason. Lonzo would have to accept a one-year qualifying offer from the Lakers for the 2021-22 campaign and refuse to sign a long-term deal—a near-unprecedented move.
The Ball family has proved nothing if not unorthodox, but LaMelo Ball would already be two years into his NBA career by the time Lonzo could even theoretically leave the Lakers. Lonzo’s radio silence on the matter was probably the best option given the unrealistic nature of his father’s comments.
By Tyler Conway