Carlos Osorsio/Associated Press
The San Antonio Spurs may relent and trade disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Lakers, but if they do, it’s unlikely they’ll accept point guard Lonzo Ball as part of the return package.
According to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, “The question now is whether the Lakers even have enough to convince the Spurs to send Leonard there. With San Antonio believed to be uninterested in Ball, the Lakers have three other intriguing young players—Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart—plus their future first-round picks to include in a deal.”
Other reports have suggested the Spurs may be uninterested in Ball, including this June 15 tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Indiana had little interest in Paul George trade w/ Lakers — and that'll be case for Spurs too. Boston gives Spurs best building blocks of assets — one of young forwards (likely Jaylen Brown), its own 18 pick/19 protected Kings pick, etc. Lonzo to Spurs? Don't hold your breath.
And Woj, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported earlier Thursday that “the price for Leonard would be substantial. The Lakers could have to surrender a combination of former first-round picks—from Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart—and future first-round picks and perhaps restricted free agent Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade agreement.”
Noticeably absent from that list of names is Ball.
There has also been speculation Ball wouldn’t be the right fit in San Antonio:
Jabari Young @JabariJYoung
@TheArkAngelMike I doubt #Spurs taking Lonzo… he balled in that last game vs. them, but they can’t handle his pop. Imagine Pop making a wrong move with Lonzo… headlines the next day…
Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report
Lonzo Ball is a fine young point, but he doesn’t make sense for the #Spurs for two reasons.
A). LaVar Ball is not someone Pop wants to deal with
B). SA loves Dejounte Murray. They are in full-on developmental mode with him and believe he has bonafide All-Star ability https://t.co/Rm2RsZjilV
There’s the Dejounte Murray factor, as mentioned above. There’s also the fact that the Spurs are coming off a bizarre, season-long dispute with a star player and may not want to replace him with the Ball family circus and its headmaster, LaVar Ball. And while the 6’6″ Lonzo has promising size and playmaking ability at point guard, he shot just 36.0 percent from the field, 30.5 percent from three and 45.1 percent from the charity stripe during his rookie season.
There were legitimate concerns about his wonky shooting motion heading into last year’s draft. Not only did Ball do nothing to dispel those concerns, but his poor shooting also magnified them.
Ball is only 20, and even if he never becomes an elite shooter, he can help a team in a number of ways. He’s a solid rebounder from the guard position and a force in transition. And if he becomes a plus defender and perimeter shooter, he’ll be a superstar.
But there are no guarantee he’ll make those improvements and, paired with the drama his family seems to court, they might make him the sort of player San Antonio would prefer to avoid. Add in the fact that the deal could likely get done without Ball—or could get done by sending him to a third team to acquire more assets for the Spurs—assets they’d prefer—it remains hard to imagine Ball will be a Spur next year.