D’Angelo Russell to Lonzo Ball, Lakers move from one distraction to another

January 8, 2018

By Chris Rodriguez

The Los Angeles Lakers ditched one distraction for an even bigger one.

So the notion is that the Lakers gave up early on D’Angelo Russell because the new front office of Laker legend, Magic Johnson and super agent turned GM Rob Pelinka, did not feel he was leadership material. Many speculated that players on his team and around the league could not trust him because of the whole Nick Young debacle. The front office figured they’d cut ties with their talented number 2 pick who brought too much distraction and traded him for cap relief and Brook Lopez.

The Laker brass sent a message to their players and players around the league that they are a no-nonsense organization and will not tolerate anything less than maximum effort, great work ethic and being a great teammate. With Lonzo as their quote “team leader”, they felt they were on to bigger and better things. That has not been the case.

Lonzo and his family have magnified the situation making the distraction even worse. Not Lonzo so much but more his father, Lavar. Lonzo likes to say that he cannot control his father’s comments but I find that to be a cop-out. Over the years there have been numerous athletes that have dealt with loudmouth, overbearing parents. A good sit down and heart to heart between the athlete and the parent has always seemed to do the trick.

Lavar Ball’s most recent comments regarding the Lakers’ head coach, Luke Walton, have pushed many analysts and fans over the edge. Magic Johnson has already told the media that they have spoken to Lavar in the past about his comments and have asked him to scale it back. This recent outburst is a clear indicator that he will not comply and he will say whatever he wants.

It does not take a genius to understand that the constant comments coming from Lavar do not stem from thin air. Some of his comments could, in fact, be motivated by what his son Lonzo tells him. Which means teammates might start to see Lonzo the same way they saw D’Angelo as not trustworthy. Lavar has taken shots at the coaching and players on the Lakers. We have seen UCLA cut ties with Lonzo, it may be only a matter of time before the Lakers do too.

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