Anonymous GM: How do you pull it off? First, you talk it over with ownership. I analyzed the team and told them what I wanted to do, the guys I wanted to get rid of and the guys with future value whom we wanted to keep. We obviously traded away some of our veteran guys who gave us a better chance of winning right now for future draft picks and young players. The owners didn’t want to tread water any more than I did. They’d rather go down to the bottom with the hope of coming up, so they signed off on it. It wasn’t a fight at all. In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing. Our coach understands that too. It’s no secret what we’re trying to do, and you can’t lie to him anyway or you’ll lose all trust. We never really had to tell him, because the handwriting is on the wall. He knows exactly what’s going on, and he’s good with it. What’s hard is keeping it from the players. If you took a poll in all 30 locker rooms, regardless of how the roster looks, I bet they’d all say they are a playoff team. That’s good, because you want them to play with effort and lose organically. You never tell the players not to try to win a game, but it’s obvious that you’re putting out a team that’s just not good enough to win.
December 14, 2017 | 1:20 pm EST Update
Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love hasn’t had one-on-one time with Los Angeles Lakers rookie and fellow UCLA Bruin Lonzo Ball. But Love has been keeping tabs on Ball’s first season in the NBA, watching some games from afar, including the Lakers’ matchup against the New York Knicks that was on the big TV in the Cavaliers’ locker room on Tuesday night. “You know what I love about him? He just goes about his business and just talks about winning games,” Love said following shootaround Thursday morning, ahead of the national TV showdown against the Lakers. “He says, ‘Nothing really matters unless we’re winning.’ I think him kind of speaking that into existence and also just preaching that at an early age is going to be big for him in the future. “I think, more than anything, that’s what I like to see from him. Obviously, when we cross the lines, none of us are friends, but I’ve appreciated him going about his business that way, at least to the media and to his teammates.”
Kevin Love: “Los Angeles is such a massive, giant media market. It’s tough. I don’t know what it would’ve been like for me if I would’ve gone from UCLA to the Lakers [like Lonzo Ball did]. From talent level, playing Thursdays and Saturdays and Thursdays and Sundays to then going up against the type of point guards we have in this league, while playing in Los Angeles, it’s a hell of a burden. But at least outside the lines, I know for sure, and going and working extremely hard, I know he’s been handling his business well, so you got to appreciate that.”
Lonzo Ball is averaging 8.9 points on 32.7 percent shooting and 25.8 percent from 3-point range to go with 6.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists. The Lakers are 10-16. “I think he’s shown a lot. He’s obviously had some trouble shooting the ball, but he’s had a lot of great gamesaclose to triple-double, triple-double games,” Kevin Love said. “Just getting used to his first time around the league. I think he’s shown a lot of bright flashes.”