One of these days we won’t have a Lonzo Ball-Los Angeles Lakers rumor to write about.
That day is not today.
According to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, the organization remains split on whether to select him with the No. 2 pick:
The Lakers want to control the narrative, which is that they — not LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father — are running the process. They have new management and need to project strength. They also don’t want teams that might be looking to trade up for a player like Jackson and Fox to assume that they don’t have to deal with the Lakers. A trade is still very much an option for the Lakers. They’d prefer to start winning again sooner than later.
I also think it reflects a genuine split within the organization about whom the best long-term candidate is. Ball was a clear favorite of the prior administration run by Mitch Kupchak and still has his fans within the organization. But the Lakers also took note on how Fox outplayed Ball in their head-to-head matchup in March. And Jackson has always been another favorite in the organization.
This is slightly off topic, but: If the Lakers burn the No. 2 pick on De’Aaron Fox, they’re out of their minds. Rolling with Josh Jackson, a scrappy defender who hit a good percentage of his threes, makes more sense. But if you’re going to select another guard when you have D’Angelo Russell on the roster, get one who is capable of playing off the ball.
Fox is the better defender, and the Lakers are a dumpster fire on the end of the floor. But unless they’re planning to trade Russell or Fox, it doesn’t make sense to pair them together long term.
And as for Ball, the assumption is still that he’ll end up with the Lakers. Ford even states he thinks they’re leaning towards him. Which, fine. A lot of people think he has the second-highest ceiling in the draft, or that he’ll wind up being the biggest star in due time.
The Lakers can’t really go wrong here in whatever they do. Even Fox would be a win, albeit a reach, when looking at trades the team could put together. But this only means we’re in store for more rumors between now and the June 22 prospect pageant.
So buckle up. This isn’t the last time we’ll rap about Ball and the Lakers. Or Jackson and the Lakers. Or Fox and the Lakers.