PHOENIX SUNS

LaVar Ball rips Lakers, wants Lonzo and his brothers to team up on Suns

Feb 5, 2019, 10:11 AM | Updated: 2:18 pm
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, UCLA's Lonzo Ball (2) walks by his father LaVar Ball, rig...
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, UCLA's Lonzo Ball (2) walks by his father LaVar Ball, right, to greet family members after UCLA defeated Long Beach State in an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles. By now the entire basketball world knows Lonzo Ball is a singular talent with a unique parent. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker, File)
(AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker, File)

LaVar Ball still wants his three sons to play professionally together.

That couldn’t be made more clear when the father of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf to discuss why he told ESPN he’d like his son to play for the Phoenix Suns — if Lonzo is in fact traded by Thursday’s deadline.

“I gave the Lakers the first right of refusal. I said, ‘Get all three of my boys and you got championships.’ They think I’m just talking,” LaVar Ball said.

“He’s a better fit in Phoenix because they got some young athletes, they’ve been losing, they need a winning attitude. The Lakers gave my boy that losing attitude.”

LaVar Ball built his Big Baller Brand company from the ground up as his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo went through high school. He’s watched from afar as Lonzo has gone through his ups and downs at UCLA and in two years with the Lakers.

LaVar Ball faded into the background in Los Angeles since LeBron James’ arrival with the Lakers in free agency this past summer.

At least until Tuesday. On 98.7 FM, the father trashed Lakers coach Luke Walton and indicated that Lonzo, 21, wouldn’t play for the New Orleans Pelicans if involved in a package helping Los Angeles acquire Anthony Davis.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner, the Lakers on Monday put an offer of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks on the table for New Orleans.

Davis has requested a trade away from the Pelicans, though they have reportedly been apprehensive about moving him considering he remains under contract through next season.

“Even if my son goes to New Orleans, you can’t make him play,” LaVar Ball said. “Phoenix, they might have a chance to get all three of my boys and win these championships and understand what winning is about. But I need all three of my boys on the court ’cause that’s 60 percent of the team that’s in to winning and not worried about how much money they’re going to make.

“It’s time for something new. The Ball boys.”

LiAngelo Ball, 20, is a 6-foot-4 second-year pro who didn’t attend college, isn’t even viewed as a European prospect and is currently playing in his father’s Junior Basketball Association.

LaMelo Ball, 17, is a 6-foot-5 point guard attending SPIRE Institute; he is viewed as an NBA-level prospect with natural passing and scoring abilities similar to Lonzo, but it remains to be seen how his immature game would translate to a more structured setting (ESPN’s current 2020 NBA mock draft has LaMelo going 33rd overall to the Suns).

During LaVar Ball’s interview with Doug & Wolf, he credited his son for making the Lakers’ role players better and took credit for his son’s previous form on his jump shot — the UCLA version that saw him shoot 41 percent from three, not the one that this year has Lonzo shooting 41 percent overall.

“You don’t even hear of Kuzma if Lonzo don’t make him in the Las Vegas Summer League,” LaVar Ball said. “You see every time Kuzma plays by himself? (Josh) Hart by himself? They get nothing. Ingram play by himself? They get nothing. They look raggedy.

“Lonzo, he makes everybody better. How can you make everybody better if you got four people dribbling the ball up the court? You put him in a corner. You try to make him a 3-and-D guy. He’s been a guy who controls the game. You can’t control the game if you’re sitting on the bench and you’re taking him in and out of the game.”

LaVar Ball said he wouldn’t be a distraction if his son came to Phoenix — with a giant, very big caveat and a clear motive of bringing his sons back together.

“If a coach gets behind Lonzo and has confidence in him, I’m cool. ‘Cause that’s when he’s very successful. He’s been successful in AAU, high school and college. ‘Cause the guys were behind him 110 percent. This half-(expletive) (expletive), it don’t work.

“If you look at my boys, the one thing they do do is win. Being undefeated, Gelo and Melo winning 60 games in a row, my boys don’t lose too much. When they got to the Lakers, Luke Walton was the worse coach ever for Lonzo ’cause he had a losing mentality. He’s been losing for three years.”

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