2017 NBA Draft

Danny Ainge: Lonzo Ball 'politely said no' to pre-Draft workout

Lonzo Ball has informed the Boston Celtics – who hold the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft – he will not work out for the team, Celtics GM Danny Ainge said Thursday on a Boston radio show.

The UCLA guard with the front-and-center father, LaVar Ball, is considered to be one of the top prospects in this year’s talent pool. Given his Southern California roots and the speculation already rampant that the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 might seek Ball’’s services, this could be a little leverage exerted by the Balls in the hope of making that happen.

CSN Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely echoed that news:

As well, ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg has more from Ainge’s interview that details exactly what Ball said to him:

During his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub, Ainge said it’s not an ideal situation, with the Celtics eager to evaluate all top talent while owning the No. 1 pick. But he noted that the Celtics have drafted players who didn’t work out for them in the past.

“We tried to get [Ball] in,” Ainge told the “Toucher and Rich” program while Boston’s front-office staff traveled for a draft workout in New York that included Duke’s Harry Giles and Kentucky’s Malik Monk.

“We don’t deal with [Ball’s camp] all that much. They didn’t show up at the combine, which is very common — many of the top 10 or 15 players don’t show up for the [NBA’s] combine. … We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no.”

Lonzo Ball’s decision to skip a workout with the Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 1 pick, could have major financial implications. The difference on a guaranteed rookie wage scale contract between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks is $2,202,900, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The difference could be more striking if income tax is considered; California has the highest state taxes in the United States at 13.3 percent for the highest bracket, while Massachusetts’ taxes are 5.1 percent.