When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Rajon Rondo in free agency last week, it immediately led to question marks about Lonzo Ball’s future with the team.
The Lakers have been in trade talks with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard and some rumours suggested that Ball may be one of the players offloaded.
Those talks have since cooled off after the purple and gold secured the biggest free agent on the market by luring LeBron James to Tinseltown.
The King is reportedly a big fan of Ball and is looking forward to playing with him next year.
But there’s no guarantee that the 20-year-old will be the starting point guard when the regular season kicks off.
Earning your spot
Many assumed that Rondo was coming in to be a back up to the youngster but that may not be the case.
According to general manager Rob Pelinka, the duo will be fighting for the starting spot during training camp.
Pelinka went on to state that LeBron is the only guaranteed starter on the roster and the other four places will be up for grabs.
“We feel like we are going to have an open training camp in terms of competing and figuring out what is that best five to win and go deep into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to win a championship,” Pelinka said, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
“We are going to play fast. … You can imagine lineups on the court where everyone is 6-[foot-]7, 6-8 or above.
“Brandon Ingram, LeBron is a positionless player. … It is really exciting to think about the length and speed and the way we can play.”
This definitely sounds like a way to motivate the team’s existing young players and new veterans and create some serious competition.
But it’s unlikely that all four spots next to James will be open. Ingram is surely one player who’ll be starting after he enjoyed a solid season.
It would also be a surprise if they benched Ball – who they selected with the number two overall pick last year – for a 32-year-old Rondo.
Competition for places is healthy with any team and the Lakers’ pre-season training camp is likely to be intense and fiery with some strong characters joining.
Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee have also joined the squad and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has re-signed.
It’ll certainly be a good problem for head coach Luke Walton to have as he looks to put together a team capable of winning and ending LA’s five-year playoff drought.
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