Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson has practically dispelled the rumors his team is up for rebuilding with focus on D'Angelo Russell. The former playmaking ace sure intends to reverse the sorry course that the Lakers are currently into but the buildup will instead center on the big man Brandon Ingram.
So it looks like Russel will not be the next Kobe Bryant as far as Johnson is concerned. In an interview with ESPN, the Lakers chief revealed his list of untouchable players in the LA roster. In fact, there's only one name on the list, and that of Ingram.
"I would say probably the only player that we would say, hey, we would probably not move is Brandon Ingram," Johnson told ESPN.
While the report did not mention, Johnson's statement effectively indicated that no one has job security in the present Lakers lineup. Anytime, the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle can go and Johnson will not be losing sleep. It appears to be the same case with Russell, who if rumors are true could end up joining the Indiana Pacers for the NBA 2017-18 Season.
That's because speculations refuse to die that shooting guard Paul George will demand to be traded from the Pacers and the California native is looking west for a possible homecoming. Analysts have been suggesting Johnson and might be interested and could dangle Russell for Indiana to agree, let go of George and send the man packing to LA.
The vision on Magic's mind is to continue building up a young and talented team and its evident he's excited to see the 6-foot-9 Ingram further grow with the Lakers. "I think that we're excited about Brandon, his length, his size, his agility, his athleticism. And then when you think about, you know, he was a baby coming in, in his first year last season and we see that he really has a high ceiling and we're excited about what he can possibly turn into," Johnson said.
It's quite clear too that the LA Lakers will want to speed things up and become Finals contender the soonest by complementing the developing talent that is Ingram and the imminent arrival of George from Indiana with a young but prized recruit. The Los Angeles Times said the Lakers seem close to securing a deal with UCLA standout Lonzo Ball.
"Ball's preference is to play for the Lakers," the publication said, adding that Ball's camp out has already scrapped the likelihood of scheduling workouts with the Boston Celtics, which enjoys the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA 2017 Draft. Boston general manager Danny Ainge has confirmed Ball will not work out with the Celtics, the report added.
In making known of his preference to play for the Lakers, proximity with his family is a big deciding factor. Ball and his family reside in Los Angeles, making the LA Lakers a natural choice for the top pick. "It's just the fact that the Lakers are in L.A., that's where all my family is. That's the only thing that kind of separates them from the rest," Ball said.
Like all incoming recruits, Lonzo Ball dreams of making it big in the NBA and the college star seems convinced his ticket to success will come easier via the Los Angeles Lakers route. "Making it to the league is my dream, my goal, so once I get there I'll be grateful for whoever I play with," Ball told The Times.