Good news for anyone who wants Los Angeles Lakers team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka to be on good terms with LaVar Ball: The Purple and Gold’s executives don’t think their relationship with Lonzo Ball’s father is on rickety footing.
Both executives intimated as much during the Lakers’ exit interviews. Here are their sentiments, courtesy of Lakers Nation’s Harrison Faigen:
During their exit interview as a tandem, however, Johnson disputed that notion. “Rob and I have a good relationship with LaVar,” he said. “He wanted to have updates on his son, we wanted to tell him how we felt Lonzo was performing. We were able to really have positive communication between the three of us.”
Pelinka added to that, outlining that the Lakers’ goal is to treat the family members of all 17 of their players “same dignity and respect” they show to any other players’ family members, no matter their status on the team or how many times they’ve publicly said Luke Walton has lost the locker room.
“We want to be an open-armed organization that treats players and their families with dignity. And so that level of treatment is going to be uniform and the same for any of those 15 Lakers players or two-way players. … Whether it’s LaVar or anyone.”
Johnson and Pelinka also outlined that their main concern in all this is Lonzo, the guy who actually plays for them. That’s the right approach. Being on good terms with player families is important. It’s a selling point. As long as they’re on the same page with Lonzo, though, they’re doing their job.
That, perhaps, is why the Lakers may have seen it fit to address this “issue.” They don’t want outside players thinking they’re not in control of their own houses or incapable of getting along with an involved family member. They have a ton of cap space this summer and need to impress free agents from afar. Rising above the Ball situation, and specifically his midseason comments about head coach Luke Walton, is small, yet important, way for them to communicate poise and harmony.