New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball wasn’t surprised when he was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer.
“I was kind of excited, honestly,” Ball told ESPN on Saturday. “I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do.
“I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad,” Ball continued on being traded. “Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it’s a business, as long you get to play, that’s a blessing in itself. I’m excited to get started.”
Ball, who has been sidelined since January with an ankle injury, is expected to be cleared for full contact in two weeks. When he returns, he will join a talented Pelicans squad that will feature Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick (reportedly) and first overall pick Zion Williamson — an explosive big man who could be the perfect compliment to Ball’s pass-first game.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 6, 2019
“Man, I’ve never seen somebody that size move like him,” Ball said of Williamson. “He’s only 19, right? He’s definitely a freak. I’ve never seen nothing like it. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it’s going to be very tough to stop him. So I think we play fast and get out on the break as soon as possible.”
With so much talent on the roster, the Pelicans could be ready to compete earlier than many expected after being forced to trade Davis. Ball believes the team is the perfect opportunity for him to remind the NBA world about his skills.
“Obviously, injuries kind of messed up things a little bit,” Ball said of his time in L.A. “But you take the bumps with the bruises and keep moving forward. Only been in the league for two years and looking forward to this third year in New Orleans, get a fresh start and show people what I can do.
“I know New Orleans is excited to have me, and I’m excited to get started,” Ball added. “Moving to a new team, a new situation, a new organization, new coaches, new everything — it’s a refresh, getting back to playing basketball how I know I can play.”
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 7, 2019