The Cavaliers should be interested in Lonzo Ball if Lakers make him available

The Lakers could be looking for picks to acquire Anthony Davis

James Rapien
June 06, 2019 - 6:08 pm
Nov 21, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (2) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The NBA Finals are in full swing, which means the draft and free agency are just a few weeks away. Rumors continue to swirl about Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and other players set to test free agency on July 1.

Anthony Davis is another star that’s expected to be on the move this summer. The Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the many suitors for Davis, who requested a trade. Some believe former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin likes the Lakers’ young talent. Others think Los Angeles will attempt to trade point guard Lonzo Ball for an extra lottery pick to sweeten the pot for New Orleans.

If Griffin wants another premium pick in a Davis deal and the Lakers are willing to part with Ball, then the Cavaliers should help the man who helped bring a championship to Cleveland.

The Cavs should absolutely be interested in moving the No. 5 pick for Ball. Griffin would be crazy not to want the former second overall pick, who would be a perfect fit with Zion Williamson, but some believe he’d prefer another lottery pick instead of Ball.

The 21-year-old has shown flashes of potential in his first two seasons in the NBA, but he hasn’t put it together.

He has a unique skillset that would fit right in with the Cavaliers. He’s bigger that most point guards at 6 feet 6 inches tall. His length has helped him become an underrated defender in the pros.

Collin Sexton and Ball would compliment each other well. Sexton is a shoot first guard, who has issues defensively. Ball is a great passer, who could evolve into an elite defender. He ranked eighth among point guards in ESPN’s defensive real-plus minus last season. Sexton and Ball could start together and wouldn’t struggle defensively like other guard combinations.

The NBA community has fallen in love with Ja Morant and rightfully so – he has special passing ability, is a good shooter and has shown the ability to lead a team.

Ball was just as good, if not a better prospect than Morant coming out of college. People forget how dominant he was at UCLA. Ball is bigger, was just as dominant in college and played against better competition. He isn’t as explosive as Morant, but they have a lot of the same traits. Ball could end up being the better player. He’s also experienced adversity that most young players deal with before breaking out in the NBA.

Do Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter have star potential? One of three three could end up making an All-Star team, but will the Cavaliers pick the right one? The fifth pick is a roll of the dice.

Ball would make the entire Cavaliers’ roster better. He averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds for the Lakers last season. Los Angeles was at its’ best when Ball was on the court with LeBron James. The kid from Akron is great, but Ball hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential.

Some don’t like his dad. Others question him because he doesn’t play like other NBA guards, who are usually looking to score first and pass second.

Ball is different and it’s exactly why the Cavaliers should be interested in trading the fifth pick for him. He’s unselfish and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. When you combine that with his physical traits, his talent and feel for the game, it’s easy to see the path for a bright future.

Ball has dealt with shoulder and ankle injuries in his first two seasons that have prevented him from having a full summer to work on his game. This is the perfect time for a team like the Cavaliers to swoop in and trade for him before he has a breakout season. The rumor mill says Chicago and Phoenix are interested in trading their lottery pick for him. The Bulls have the No. 7 pick and the Suns have the No. 6 pick. The Cavaliers can top that and should if the Lakers make him available.

New head coach John Beilein would probably enjoy having a guard like Ball, who can run his offense and push the pace when necessary. He may also benefit from leaving the dysfunction that’s surrounded the Lakers for the majority of this decade. 

This wouldn’t be an easy move for general manager Koby Altman to make. Some fans would be turned off because of Lavar Ball. Others would wonder why they traded for a point guard after drafting Sexton eighth overall last season?

Everyone criticized the Lakers this past season for trading D’Angelo Russell in 2017. The franchise dealt him before he reached his full potential. It’s easy to praise Brooklyn now, but not many people thought Russell was going to be an All-Star when the Nets traded for him. Brooklyn had the foresight to make that move. It would be even harder for Altman to part with the No. 5 pick.

Ball and Russell are different players, but the point remains – if the Lakers’ impatience forces them to trade a potential star, why not take advantage of it? These are the type of deals that completely change the future of a franchise.

It could end up being a three-way trade between the Lakers, Cavaliers and Pelicans. New Orleans would end up with the first, fourth and fifth overall picks in the draft, plus Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and anyone else Los Angeles includes in the deal. Cleveland would get Ball in exchange for one of their expiring contracts and the fifth overall pick.

The Cavaliers would have a lineup that included Ball, Sexton, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic are solid bench pieces. Cleveland doesn’t expect to contend for a playoff spot next season, but they could surprise some people if Ball starts to realize his full potential.

The Cavaliers have options and just because they’re trying to build a solid foundation doesn’t mean they need to play by the book – getting creative might be the key to turning things around in the post-LeBron era.