LaVar Ball has had quite a week. He removed his son, LiAngelo, from UCLA, and the Lakers have instituted a rule that essentially prohibits reporters form talking to Ball at Staples Center.
We’ll start with LiAngelo, who was serving an indefinite suspension after his shoplifting arrest in China. How will this situation play out?
“I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but it’s awful because what kind of a lesson is he teaching his kid about accountability?” Sporting News and Forbes NBA writer Mitch Lawrence said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Those kids quitting on UCLA – I think it’s great for Steve Alford. I wouldn’t want them in my program. You’re just inviting a disaster when you got old man Ball with you.”
Ball’s youngest son, LaMelo, had verbally committed to play for UCLA, but it appears increasingly less likely that he will honor that commitment. LaMelo is one of the top players in the 2019 class.
“I guess the youngest kid has got more talent than the middle kid,” Lawrence said, “but it’s just a bad look.”
The Lakers (8-15), meanwhile, are already fed up with Ball and don’t want reporters talking to him at Staples Center.
“They say (it’s) all family members (of players, but) it’s really the LaVar Ball Rule,” Lawrence said. “That just tells you how concerned the Lakers are because he’s just going to cause all kinds of problems. Everybody knew this was going to be a big problem because the old man is a hot-head and this is all about marketing and he’s just going to continue talking. He’s going to undermine his son’s coach in Luke Walton. He’s questioning Luke Walton’s moves with his kid.”
In November, for example, Ball called the Lakers’ coaching staff soft and said they needed to be tougher on Lonzo. “They don’t know how to coach my son,” Ball said. “I know how to coach him. I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.” Ball has also publicly questioned Walton’s strategy and game-management decisions.
“He’s got all the answers,” Lawrence said sarcastically, referring to Ball. “There’s a lot of phony in LaVar. He’s just a hot-head. He just spouts off stuff just to get headlines, just to market his brand. It’s a little sickening.”