Lonzo Ball says the Lakers have a plan, but he's not in on it

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Thursday, June 22, 2017

NEW YORK -- After seeing the Los Angeles Lakers trade D'Angelo Russell on Tuesday, Lonzo Ball says he believes Magic Johnson has "a plan."

Whether that includes drafting Ball with the second overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, Ball said he is making no assumptions despite the fact that most believe he will be a Laker.

"You know, the Lakers have a plan," Ball said when asked whether he thought the Russell trade was to make room for him to play point guard. "So whatever that is, we will see whatever that is in the future."

Speaking at media availability for draft prospects, Ball deftly handled every question that came his way with straightforward answers, in stark contrast to his father, LaVar, who has made headlines with many of his eye-catching comments.

Despite the fact that he said he has met with only the Lakers during the pre-draft process, the UCLA point guard stuck to the script that he does not know whether Johnson will make his dream come true of becoming a Los Angeles Laker.

"It will mean a lot to play for my hometown [team] and learn from the best point guard ever," Ball said of Johnson, the team's president of basketball operations. "Yeah that's crazy to me [if it happens]. Magic Johnson is the best point guard ever. ... Words [couldn't] describe that."

Ball said the Lakers told him that they would embrace his outspoken father as well if they pick him.

"They were open-armed and said they loved my dad," Ball said when asked whether the Lakers had any concerns about LaVar Ball. "So I left it at that."

On Tuesday, the Lakers agreed to trade Russell, their second overall pick from the 2015 draft, and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in Thursday's draft. Russell, 21, averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists this past season.

The trade not only clears cap space for the Lakers to pursue at least one max free agent next summer but it would also appear to pave the way for Ball to come in and run point for coach Luke Walton.

Wearing his Big Baller Brand shirt, Ball said he has a "clean" suit picked out that does not have the "BBB" logo on it to wear for Thursday night. Ball said his Big Baller Brand shoes will be out in November.

Ball, who grew up a Lakers fan watching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and recently met Bryant for a few minutes while the two were working with ESPN, hopes he will be adding a Lakers cap to his suit after the second pick is announced.

"I can't tell the future," Ball said of why he kept saying he isn't sure who will draft him. "I don't know where I am going."

"I know he is going to be happy," Ball added of his father's reaction once he will be drafted. "He will be smiling, I will be smiling, get the hat and go from there."

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