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Lonzo Ball Prefers Lakers But Prepared To Play For Anyone

Apr 26, 2017 1:52 PM

When Lonzo Ball was younger he would watch footage of Magic Johnson, which symbolized the purity of the game for his family.

“I watched tape on Magic when I was young,” Ball told The Vertical, “and it’s why you can see it in my game. He liked to pass, I like to pass. He was a big point guard, I’m a big point guard. And I feel the way the game is played means a lot to him and me.”

The Los Angeles Lakers could be in position to draft Ball if they keep their pick.

“The Lakers are in L.A., and they’re close to home,” Ball told The Vertical. “This is where all my family is. Hopefully, they have a nice pick and they have a chance to get me. I want this to be realistic. Just being very family-oriented, to play in front of them would mean a lot to me. The Lakers are a young team and they have a lot of young talent.”

While Ball may prefer to stay close to home, he's prepared to play for whichever team selects him.

“I’ll play for anyone, all 30 teams,” Ball told The Vertical. “I want the challenge of helping turn around any team in the league. Just making it to the NBA, that’s my goal.”

Ball's father, LaVar Ball, has become a celebrity in his own right with his outsized personality.

“That’s who he’s been since I was a kid,” Ball told The Vertical about his father.

Ball believes he could change the way free agents perceive the Lakers if he ends up there.

“That’s the culture I want: to enter a situation and help my team win,” Ball told The Vertical. “I’ll do whatever I can for wins. It’s what I did when I was at Chino Hills. It’s what I did at UCLA. It’s what I’ll do again at the next level. Just do what I can to help my team win and make players around me better.”

Ball would love the opportunity to learn directly from Magic.

“I can learn a lot from Magic, and it would be a blessing for me to be able to take after him each and every day,” Ball told The Vertical. “Magic is probably the best guard to ever play the game. The fact that he also played as a big guard, he can show me things.

“I would love to have that sit-down and learn to be the best player I can be.”


Shams Charania/The Vertical

Tags: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

Magic Johnson To Represent Lakers At Lottery

Apr 24, 2017 7:39 PM

Magic Johnson will represent the team at the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16.

While Johnson will handle the televised portion of the event, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka will represent the team in the back where the lottery combinations will actually be drawn.

The Lakers have a 46.9 percent chance to land in the top three of the lottery, and thus keep their pick, which is top three protected. 

If the pick falls out of the top-3, it will be conveyed to the 76ers.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

Magic Johnson Didn't See Player Worth Building Around On Lakers' Roster

Apr 24, 2017 5:18 PM

Jeanie Buss asked Magic Johnson what direction the Los Angeles Lakers should go in regarding their personnel before he took the job as president.

“I asked him who he would build the team around. He thought about it for a second and he said, ‘I don’t know if you have the player yet... I would build the team around Luke (Walton),’” said Buss.

While D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram still have promise as young players, none are certain future All-Stars. 

Johnson and Rob Pelinka took over the Lakers' front office this year from Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.

Open Run Podcast (via Anthony Irwin/Silver Screen and Roll)

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Kobe Bryant Doesn't Miss Playing In NBA

Apr 24, 2017 1:39 PM

Kobe Bryant appeared on Good Morning America on Monday to promote his animated short film Dear Basketball.

Bryant was asked if he misses playing the game.

“No, I don’t. No, it’s crazy but I started playing when I was 2, and so after playing for 20 years in the league — what I have now is, everything I’ve learned from the game I carry with me to this day," said Bryant. "So, the game’s never truly left me. Physically? Yes, but emotionally and in the things that I write all stem from the game. So, it’s still a part of me, and then the other thing is that for athletes that come next understanding that there is a finality to it. Right? And that’s OK. It’s very hard to let go of something that you’ve done for half your life and it’s kinda become who you are — but there’s a difference between doing what you do, versus understanding that is not who you are. Hopefully other athletes can see that and understand that.”

Good Morning America (via James Dator/SB Nation)

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Lakers Have Plan In Place If They Lose Pick To 76ers

Apr 14, 2017 12:49 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers have a plan in place if they lose their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers on the night of the lottery on May 16th. The pick is top-3 protected.

"Listen, I think you have to be prepared for whatever scenario when you're looking at a random event like the lottery," Rob Pelinka said Thursday during exit interviews at the team's practice facility.

"People are asking, 'Do you guys have to have to that pick?' That's something that I get asked at every single game. I think we're prepared to have it, and we also have a plan if we don't."

He added, "I think for us, if we get the lottery balls to bounce our way, yes, we have a great attack-plan for the draft. But if we don't, just like [many famous] sports moments, we have to find a way, and we do have a plan, to still get to where our ultimate destination is without the draft pick."

The Lakers picked up a first round pick from the Houston Rockets for Lou Williams.

"I think the beauty of what [Lakers president of basketball operations] Earvin [Johnson] was able to pull off before I accepted the position of general manager [is] we have, no matter what, we have a first-round pick this year," Pelinka said. "So we're already in a position of strength. And then if that top-three ping-pong ball enters our way, we have a number of contingencies of how that can play out.

"And if it doesn't, then again, we have our fallback position of a first-round pick already, and then we would have our pick in 2018. I think I had said to someone the other day the destination of getting to a championship might be like a Rubik's Cube. You're looking at this thing and it's got all these different colors and you've got to get them to all line up. There's 1,000 different ways to turn the cube and to get it so it all lines up, but you're going to eventually do. Maybe you have the pick; maybe you don't.

"But you have to continue to make moves and turn it until you have that complete perfect picture, and that's what we're doing every day, and that's what we're analyzing and looking at."


Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Metta World Peace Not In Lakers' Plans For 17-18

Apr 13, 2017 2:22 PM

Metta World Peace was informed by Magic Johnson that the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to re-sign him this offseason.

"It was good, you know, exit meetings, you figure out how the season went," World Peace said. "And then, we also talk about I, uh, they're probably not going to bring me back."

Asked again to clarify, World Peace stated in a straightforward manner, "Yea, Magic said he's probably not going to bring me back, but it was good. I had a nice time."

World Peace is 37 and is unlikely to sign with another team this offseason.

"Obviously, one day I do want to coach," World Peace said when asked if it may be time to call time on his career. "It just depending on what that time is going to come, but as of yesterday, I enjoy playing, so I was thinking about playing basketball somewhere at a gym."

Shahan Ahmed/NBC Los Angeles

Tags: Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Rob Pelinka Compares GM Job To Rubik's Cube

Apr 12, 2017 2:30 PM

Rob Pelinka was recently asked if he has a general philosophy of how he's approaching his job as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers in light of their multi-year rebuilding endeavors.

"The most important thing is that when there is extraordinary success, you can get to a place in life where you rest on that success," said Pelinka. "I think all of us – Luke (Walton), Magic (Johnson), myself, Jeanie (Buss) – feel like there’s a little bit of a sort of casualness that has crept in. Like, we’ve done all these great things, so maybe we don’t have to outwork everyone else, or out-hustle everyone else, or have a greater version than everyone else.

"So I think we’ve all gotten to that point where we say, ‘OK, we’re blowing up any of those notions and we’re going to bring back a new mentality … which is … what does it mean to put on the purple and gold Lakers jersey? What sense of pride is there? What am I signing up for when I do this?’ When I get out my keycard in the morning, I think, ‘What does that mean for this day?’ This is a position of responsibility for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. What responsibility do I have to this day and to this moment? And I think bringing that back, all of us, to the players and the fans is one of the first things we’re working on.

"And then to the specifics to team building, there are a lot of uncertainties. Do we have our draft pick in June, or do we not? What free agents do extensions? What free agents become true free agents? What players from other teams are teams going to think about trading? There are millions and millions of combinations. It’s almost like a Rubik’s Cube. If you’re trying to solve it, there are many different combinations and turns you could make to get to the end path. You have to really study that board hard and make all the right turns to get there, but there is likely more than one way to get to the end.

"But you have to stay focused, and keep turning and looking at it like a chess game, keep moving the pieces around the board knowing what the goal is. The goal is to win a championship and we’re going to do everything we can to bring that probability here again. But to articulate and say ‘Here’s step one, step two and all the way to 10’ is just impossible."

Mike Trudell/NBA.com

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Jim Buss Tried To Give Shares Of Lakers To Kobe Bryant

Apr 12, 2017 11:34 AM

Jim Buss tried to offer Kobe Bryant shares of the Los Angeles Lakers in show of appreciation last season.

Dr. Jerry Buss had done the same with Magic Johnson in the 1990s.

But Jim Buss didn't research or understand that the trust doesn't allow that kind of transfer of ownership. The thought was Jim Buss was trying to win favor with Bryant by allocating shares to him.

After Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were fired from the front office, Jeanie Buss hired Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, as general manager.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Lonzo Ball Would Rather Play For Lakers Than Go No. 1

Apr 6, 2017 7:16 PM

Lonzo Ball was asked whether he would prefer to be drafted first overall or play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I'm going to go with the Lakers," said Ball. "All my family is in L.A so to be able to play in front of them would mean more." 

Ball is widely expected to be a top-2 pick in the draft.

The Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks are in the best position to land a top-2 pick.


Tags: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

Glenn Carraro Steps Down As Assistant GM Of Lakers

Apr 6, 2017 3:45 PM

Glenn Carraro has resigned as assistant general manager of Los Angeles Lakers.

Carraro had been with the Lakers since 2000.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Rob Pelinka May Have Five-Year, $20M+ Contract With Lakers
When Rob Pelinka was hired by the Lakers, there were no reports on the type of contract he signed while leaving his lucrative agency business.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Ivica Zubac Out For Season With Ankle Injury

RealGM Staff Report

Nick Young Undecided On $5.7M Player Option With Lakers
The Lakers considered using the stretch provision on Nick Young last offseason but he's rebuilt his value.

Mark Medina/Orange County Register

Jim Buss Removed As Co-Trustee Of Lakers
Janie Buss will replace Jim Buss as co-trustee, joining Jeanie Buss and Johnny Buss.

Nathan Fenno/Los Angeles Times

Rob Pelinka Feels GM Job Is 'Sweet Spot For Who I Am With My Background'
Rob Pelinka was an agent for two decades before becoming GM of the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Shaq Spun Lakers' Unwillingness To Pay Him With Trade Request
Jerry Buss informed Shaquille O'Neal that the Lakers were unwilling to meet his contract demands.

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Gary Vitti Absent Since Lakers' Regime Change
While Gary Vitti retired from his full time position last year, he signed on as a consultant for two more seasons.

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Lakers Finalizing Two-Year Deal With David Nwaba
The Lakers will have a team option on David Nawba for the 17-18 season.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Lakers Want D'Angelo Russell To Be More Aggressive
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are looking for D'Angelo Russell to be more aggressive.

Jova Buha/ESPN

Jeanie Buss Asks Brothers To Vote Her As Lakers' Controlling Owner For Life
Jeanie Buss is seeking assurances from Johnny Buss and Jim Buss.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Luke Walton Staying Optimistic Despite Lakers' Struggles
Luke Walton has sought counsel from Steve Kerr and he also has reached out to Phil Jackson.

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Daryl Morey: Magic, Pelinka Have 'Big Advantages' With Superstars
Daryl Morey believes the duo of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka running the Lakers could be successful due to how their skills complement each other.

Mark Media/Orange County Register

Lakers Shut Down Timofey Mozgov To Give Playing Time To Younger Bigs
The Lakers also have Tarik Black and Ivica Zubac on their depth chart at center.

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

Rob Pelinka Plans On Meeting Individually With All Lakers
Rob Pelinka addressed the Lakers as a team before Sunday's game.

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant '100 Percent Behind Everything Laker'
Rob Pelinka called Kobe Bryant "a North star" for the Lakers leadership.

Bill Oram/Orange County Register

Rob Pelinka: Lakers Still Have Intrinsic Advantage In NBA
Despite working in a CBA that makes team-building more difficult for big market teams due to a punitive luxury tax, Rob Pelinka believes the Lakers still have many advantages over their peers.

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Lakers Sign David Nwaba To 2nd 10-Day Contract
David Nwaba averaged 2.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 11.2 minutes through five games after earning an NBA Call-Up with the Lakers on February 28.

RealGM Staff Report

Kobe Bryant Met With Jeanie Buss In February, Advocated For Rob Pelinka
Jeanie Buss identified Magic Johnson, Phil Jackson, Jerry West and Kobe Bryant as candidates to run the Lakers.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Lakers Were Scrambling To Communicate Internally When Kings Traded Cousins
Kings' ownership had given approval for a DeMarcus Cousins' trade involving Buddy Hield and Brandon Ingram.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Jeanie Buss Restructured Front Office After Kupchak, Jim Buss Kept Magic Out Of Loop
Jeanie Buss began formulating her plan to fire Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak shortly before All-Star Game weekend.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN