The Los Angeles Lakers thought Lonzo Ball was going to be their point guard for the future when they took him with the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. He looked poised for stardom with his Jason Kidd-ish game and seemed like a perfect fit back in the day.
Then, inconsistency, struggles, off-court controversies, and the opportunity to pair LeBron James with Anthony Davis put an end to Ball's tenure at the Staples Center, as he was traded along with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple picks to the New Orleans Pelicans to get AD in the purple-and-gold.
Unsurprisingly, Lonzo's father LaVar didn't care for the move and went as far as to 'guarantee' that the Lakers would regret it forever and that it would go down as one of the worst trades ever, as they would never be able to win a ring without Lonzo:
“I guarantee: Like I say again, it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life and they will never win another championship. Guarantee it, They’re going to regret it. I’m going to have fun with it. Because I told you all, it was crashing down. Now [the Lakers] completely crashed, but at least my son got off the boat before the thing exploded. I gave them a chance. You can rewind it and go back. I said if you get the three Ball brothers, you can survive this. You let him go, oh, it’s going to be a cold day in hell. Trust and believe that," LaVar told ESPN in 2019.
Fast-forward to today and the Los Angeles Lakers are the reigning NBA Champions, in great part because of Anthony Davis' great performances. Moreover, Davis is expected to sign a long-term extension with the team to stay next to LeBron for the foreseeable future.
As for Lonzo, he's coming off averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game in his first season with the Pelicans, which is slightly better than his career averages in LA.
Lonzo still has a ways to go before being able to live up to the expectations that surrounded him when he entered the league but he's going to have plenty of chances to develop in New Orleans, something that wasn't likely to ever happen in a big market with a win-now mentality as the Lakers.