The start of the Lonzo Ball era began after the No. 2 overall pick inked his rookie contact with the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year deal Monday.
The 19-year-old PG and former UCLA Bruin signed his contract as NBA Summer League in Las Vegas sets for this week.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 3, 2017
It’s unsure how much Ball will make with the deal, but if the Lakers pay the 120 percent of the league’s slot value, then Ball will make $33.4 million.
And as the Lakers look upon a teenager to play the franchise player role immediately, GM Magic Johnson saw the leadership and potential Ball possesses to return the championship pedigree to L.A.
“You have to have a great leader and somebody that can make their teammates better and somebody that has incredible basketball IQ. The IQ is off the charts. He’s somebody that can get his teammates to follow,” Johnson said.
Getting his teammates on ship is what Ball does best, because after all, he led a UCLA squad as a freshman to the Sweet 16 when the Bruins failed to make the NCAA Tournament the year prior. Now, he steps into a professional environment where winning is expected from day one and Johnson envisions his jersey hanging in the rafters.
Magic just told Lonzo to look up at the jerseys on the wall (including his own, of course): “We expect a Ball jersey up there one day."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 23, 2017
Adds pressure to Ball, but arguably the greatest point guard of all-time is transparent about where he sees Ball’s career in the long run.
Lakers also signed former Utah Ute and No. 27 overall pick Kyle Kuzma to their summer league roster.