Magic Johnson told to trade Lakers star Lonzo Ball TODAY even if AD | Other | Sport

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That’s according to ESPN’s basketball insider Stephen A. Smith.

The Lakers are keen to recruit New Orleans Pelicans superstar Davis and offered Lonzo as part of a major package alongside Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, two future first-round draft picks and salary-cap relief by taking Solomon Hill to L.A.

Yet the Pelicans are continuing to increase they demands and it is unlikely any agreement will be reached before the deadline (Thursday 3pm ET/12pm PST/8pm UK time).

Lonzo’s camp have made it clear he does not see his future in New Orleans and the third-year point guard would prefer a move to a team where he a back-court starter, such as the Phoenix Suns.

The 21-year-old, picked as the No 1 player in the 2017 draft, is in the second year of a $22million contract but is yet to truly realise his potential in Los Angeles.

Yet his father LaVar Ball has reacted badly to suggestions Lonzo will leave Staples Center and reserved particularly strong criticism for Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

He told Arizona’s 98.7 FM: “Luke Walton was the worst coach he ever had. It was Magic [Johnson] the one who said he was going to be the dang face of the franchise. 

“But Magic ain’t doing no coaching. And the only person to kill Lonzo is the coach pulling him out and not having no confidence in him.

“Everyone who’s had confidence in Lonzo just let him go and let him win. That’s what he does. He wins. Luke Walton turned him into a loser. A loser’s mentality is like, ‘Oh, he’s young, he’ll get it.’ Instead of going out there and letting him do what he does.”

And NBA expert Stephen A. told First Take on ESPN that after such comments, it would be unhealthy for the Lakers to keep Lonzo and LaVar around the organisation.

He said: “If I’m Magic Johnson I’m on the phone and I’m trying to get Lonzo Ball on another team. I would trade Lonzo Ball immediately. 

“I’m sad to have to say that because Lonzo is a nice kid with a good upside and I’m not denigrating LaVar Ball. It’s not like he’s been talking for a while, we haven’t heard from him for a while. 

“But when he says what he says, what you think he’s never spoken to his son? You think his son hasn’t mentioned a word to his father who considers himself a basketball genius, who is a basketball coach? 

“You think people in that locker room don’t believe this is a father-son conversation going public in some capacity? Certainly Lonzo didn’t intend for that to be the case but clearly that’s the perception. 

“But the bigger issue, Lonzo ain’t worth the trouble that LaVar can cause. In his year-and-a-half in the NBA he’s averaging 10 points, he’s shooting 38 per-cent from the field, 31 per-cent from three-point range. 

“My issue is not the numbers, it’s his lack of aggression. I wish Lonzo had his dad’s attitude and would get on the court and go for it, push the envelope and show some level of aggression and assertiveness. 

“I wish Lonzo would be the guy that was assertive and wasn’t content to dribble the ball at half-court, hand it off to somebody and go hide in the corner. That’s how he looks half the time. 

“You don’t need that in L.A. Particularly when you have a dad calling out the coach, calling him a loser. You can’t have stuff like that going on within the Lakers organisation. 

“I would definitely move beyond this. Yes LaVar is hurting to some degree but just as much as Lonzo’s unassertive play play is hurting the Lakers.”



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