LaVar Ball Rumors
The house-cleaning in Cleveland was all for nothing — because LeBron James is leaving the Cavs to sign with the Lakers in the off-season … at least, that’s what LaVar Ball believes. The Big Baller was at his pop-up shop in L.A. when we asked about the possibility of Bron coming out West to play with Lonzo when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. LaVar is not only convinced it’s going to happen — he tells TMZ Sports, “Lonzo is gonna make HIM a better player!”
LaVar Ball is back in the U.S. — and he’s digging in his heels on his threats to the Lakers … sign my other sons or I’m taking Lonzo Ball somewhere else. “Man, who don’t want they sons to play all on the same team?” Ball told us in front of his reality TV show crew at LAX … “Name one father who don’t want they sons to play on the same team?”
We asked if Lonzo would REALLY leave if LaVar doesn’t get his way — he looked at the camera and said, “I’ll let y’all figure that out.” When it came to Magic Johnson, LaVar tried to deflect — but ultimately told us he’s not afraid of the Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations.
But failure is not something LaVar Ball gives much oxygen to. If something isn’t going the way he wants it to, the Big Baller goes on blast. Lonzo was struggling with his shot, aggressiveness and confidence, and in LaVar’s mind, that was because Lakers coach Luke Walton wasn’t coaching him the right way. LaVar didn’t have a direct line of communication to Walton, and lobbying Johnson and Pelinka behind the scenes hadn’t resulted in what he’d wanted, so he started criticizing Walton in radio and television interviews. After a few rounds of cringe-worthy headlines, Johnson and Pelinka called him in for a meeting in late November and asked him to tone down his criticisms or, at the very least, come to them first.
None of this is to suggest Lonzo Ball has wasted his shot with the Lakers or is no longer essential to their future. He is. But in the span of a month, he went from the center of the universe to one of several planets in the solar system. His father, meanwhile, might as well be in another galaxy, spending most of his time in Lithuania, where his two younger sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are playing professionally, hosting awards shows, hawking Big Baller Brand water and comically threatening that Lonzo won’t re-sign with the Lakers if they don’t add his younger brothers to the team. “No reaction,” Lonzo said of his father’s threat. “I always just play. He always talks. It’s always been the same way.”
Although it can be hard to remember now, with LaVar making threats from across the globe, the Lakers always wanted to be supportive of the Ball family’s business. Some in the front office even enjoyed the hoopla that LaVar was so adept at creating for himself, his boys and the family brand. This is Hollywood, after all. “I got a special relationship with LaVar,” Johnson says. “I think he understands … I just want the best for him. For his son. I told him, ‘I’ve been down this road that your son is about to go down, so you got the best person sitting here. So what I need you to do is just worry about the business side. Let me take care of the basketball side.'”