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Thursday night's NBA draft turned into an advertisement for the Big Baller Brand.

It started with a subtle black logo on Lonzo Ball's black bow tie, but became more pronounced after Ball was taken second by the Los Angeles Lakers.

That's when Ball's father, LaVar, who had a "BBB" tie on, pulled out a hat with the Big Baller Brand logo on it in Lakers purple and gold.

Moments later, Lonzo's signature ZO2 shoes were being offered for sale in Lakers colors on the company's website. The price was $495, the same as the first version of the shoes, with the promise of shipping pairs out to customers by Feb. 10.

Not missing a beat, Lonzo changed out of his dress shoes and did interviews with the media in his new shoes that he will wear at the Staples Center in the fall.


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It took about as long as one of Lonzo Ball's deft cross-court passes for NBA players to start licking their chops at the prospect of taking the Ball family down a peg.

Not too long after the Los Angeles Lakers took Lonzo with the No. 2 overall pick, soon after which his father LaVar declared to ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the Lakers would be playoff-bound in 2018, Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons subtweeted some thinly-veiled shots at the father-son duo:

The NBA's 2017-18 regular-season schedule won't be released until August, but suffice to say the first Sixers-Lakers matchup between Ball and Philly's No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will be appointment viewing.

-- Brendan C. Hall


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The Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night. 

Ford's Big Board ranking -- No. 2: "He's the best passer in the draft. In fact, he might be the best passer to come out of the draft in the last decade. His court vision and ability to anticipate plays before they develop is uncanny. He also has deep range on his jump shot and is a very good finisher at the rim."  More (Insider)

Kevin Pelton's stats and scouting ranking -- No. 1: "Part of the challenge in evaluating Ball is how unusual his skill set is, not just for an elite prospect, but overall." More (Insider)

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Elite passer
  • Excellent ball handler
  • Creative with the ball
  • Unselfish

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Needs to add strength
  • Unorthodox shooting form

Read the full scouting report (Insider)


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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Since last fall, the Los Angeles Lakers and Lonzo Ball have seemed destined to collide: a storied, star-starved franchise in tatters but bound for the NBA lottery, where a homegrown star who helped resurrect the hallowed UCLA Bruins would be waiting.

Throughout his freshman campaign in Westwood, Ball, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound point guard reared in Chino Hills by his outspoken father, LaVar, delivered the sort of flashy highlights -- no-look passes, moonbeam 3-pointers and sky-walking slams -- that the Lakers have always craved.

On Thursday, that destiny was realized. The Lakers selected Ball second overall in the draft, giving the rebuilding team another promising young guard while setting up a season of intrigue about how Ball -- and, by proxy, his father's dominant presence -- will impact the NBA's glamour franchise.

Ball marks the first high-profile draftee under the new regime of Magic Johnson, the Lakers' president of basketball operations (and the player whom Ball patterned his game after), and Rob Pelinka, their general manager.

"It's crazy. I couldn't ask for anything more -- to be able to learn from [Johnson] every day is truly a blessing," Ball said after his selection. 

Once the pingpong balls delivered the Lakers the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft on May 16, fate appeared in control. 

"It is a wonderful feeling, but I already knew what was coming to him," LaVar said after his son's selection, making yet another guarantee -- that Lonzo will lead the Lakers back to the playoffs next season.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia 76ers


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Stephen A. Smith explains why people continue to compare Lonzo Ball to Jason Kidd and why leadership will be a key component to his success.
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Dan Dakich sees LeBron James eventually leaving Cleveland to play for the Lakers, while Mike Greenberg can't understand why Dan Gilbert would oust David Griffin of his position prior to the start of the NBA draft.

Nick YoungKirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsNick Young will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after declining his $5.6 million contract option for next season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers guard Nick Young will decline his $5.6 million player option for next season with Los Angeles to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Lakers announced Young's decision on Wednesday.

Young, 32, faced a deadline of June 21 to make a decision on his option. The 10-year veteran guard, who averaged 13.2 points in 60 games last season, will hit the open market July 1.

In four tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, Young started 71 of the 220 games he appeared in, averaging 24.5 minutes and 13.1 points per game.

The Los Angeles native realized a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but Young's tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the history of the 16-time NBA champions.

After struggling on the court during the 2015-16 season and enduring upheaval in his personal life due to an infamous video scandal with then-rookie D'Angelo Russell, Young enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton. 

Young also has had stints with the Washington Wizards, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers throughout his career.


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In the midst of all of the rumors and what-ifs, Lonzo Ball creates a fun pitch to motivate LeBron James to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
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NEW YORK -- After seeing the Los Angeles Lakers trade D'Angelo Russell on Tuesday, Lonzo Ball says he believes Magic Johnson has "a plan."

Whether that includes drafting Ball with the second overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, Ball said he is making no assumptions despite the fact that most believe he will be a Laker.

"You know, the Lakers have a plan," Ball said when asked whether he thought the Russell trade was to make room for him to play point guard. "So whatever that is, we will see whatever that is in the future."

Speaking at media availability for draft prospects, Ball deftly handled every question that came his way with straightforward answers, in stark contrast to his father, LaVar, who has made headlines with many of his eye-catching comments.

Despite the fact that he said he has met with only the Lakers during the pre-draft process, the UCLA point guard stuck to the script that he does not know whether Johnson will make his dream come true of becoming a Los Angeles Laker.

"It will mean a lot to play for my hometown [team] and learn from the best point guard ever," Ball said of Johnson, the team's president of basketball operations. "Yeah that's crazy to me [if it happens]. Magic Johnson is the best point guard ever. ... Words [couldn't] describe that."

Ball said the Lakers told him that they would embrace his outspoken father as well if they pick him.

"They were open-armed and said they loved my dad," Ball said when asked whether the Lakers had any concerns about LaVar Ball. "So I left it at that."

On Tuesday, the Lakers agreed to trade Russell, their second overall pick from the 2015 draft, and Timofey Mozgov


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The NBA draft is fast approaching, which means several big decisions loom for teams regarding prospects as well as current players.

Reports involving big names such as Paul George and Jimmy Butler have been circulating the past several days, and these All-Stars could be on the move in the near future.

Meanwhile, there has already been a swap of top-three picks in the draft as lottery teams position themselves to select the best college talent in what has been touted as a very deep class.

As the storylines continue to unfold, here's your chance to weigh in on five burning questions related to the madness. Vote below!

Coverage of the NBA draft is scheduled to begin Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN.

-- Nick Ostiller


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Jalen Rose joins OTL to discuss the Lakers' moves, Kristaps Porzingis and his experiences leading up to the draft.
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Rachel Nichols breaks down how the Lakers are shedding their laughingstock reputation with power moves this offseason.
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The First Take crew debates Paul George's worth as compared to the young assets the Lakers could leverage to secure him.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jordan Clarkson
PTS AST STL MIN
14.7 2.6 1.1 29.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsJ. Randle 3.6
StealsL. Nance Jr. 1.3
BlocksI. Zubac 0.9