LaVar Ball’s candor may be more detrimental to the Los Angeles Lakers than we initially thought. Players around the league are apparently taking stock of his antics, as one Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher:
There are also indications that players around the league have taken note, souring their view of the Lakers as a free-agency destination. One Eastern Conference executive overheard his players saying they had no interest in going to the Lakers “and having some old man criticize us and the team.”
We should in no way doubt this. Player take stuff like this into account. They don’t want to be subject to James Dolan’s tyrannical rule in New York. They don’t like playing for teams in certain markets. They consider everything when making free-agency decisions—including any and all potential distractions.
Ball certainly qualifies as a distraction, mainly for his criticism of Lakers head coach Luke Walton and other members of the team who aren’t his son, Lonzo Ball. But could he really be the difference between someone like, say, LeBron James or Paul George choosing the Lakers in free agency? That feels like a stretch.
Veterans can often find it within themselves to look beyond what they consider laughable offenses. And that’s where much of what Ball does falls. Plus, even he probably knows better than to criticize top-25 players. Throwing shade at fellow youngsters like Lonzo is easier—safer, even. Yes, Ball has not hesitated to claim his son’s superiority over Stephen Curry, but it’d be different when looking at an All-Star who plays on the Lakers rather than against them.
Anyway, should worse come to worst, team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka could always move Lonzo to another franchise if his dad becomes a sticking point for the NBA’s available megastars. But again, even with this juicy tidbit, it’s unlikely any of Los Angeles’ most important plans get foiled by Ball’s lack of filter.