METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) - When the 2018 season began a year ago, with LeBron James leading the Lakers core of young talent, there was promise in L.A. What ensued throughout the season, with more losses than anyone predicted, became more of a circus than a locker room. So it should come as no surprise why Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart are excited to be part of a new franchise that welcomes them.
“It was tough being a young guy, especially in LA, with all of these people looking at you with a big responsibility over there. But I think growing up and being in the league two years, you find ways to block it out. I was doing it myself before I got hurt. I know B.I. was. I know J. Hart was. I comes down to just playing basketball. That’s your job. Everything else is just extra,” said guard Lonzo Ball.
That basketball first kind of attitude will be a perfect fit alongside Jrue Holiday, who immediately reached out to his new teammates after the trade.
“I’ve know Jrue since high school, actually. We played a lot against each other during AAU. After the trade was announced, he sent me a couple of texts, and we exchanged a couple of text messages,” said center Derrick Favors.
What’s so unique about the situation, especially when we’re talking about players acquired via trade, is how much everyone says they wanted to be in New Orleans. David Griffin says that the Jazz were going to trade Derrick Favors wherever he wanted to go, as a courtesy, and he chose New Orleans. And in the case of former Laker Josh Hart, when he got the news that he was traded to become a Pelican, he wanted to ensure that he would stay in New Orleans.
“Josh called me before the draft, after we made the trade to acquire these gentleman, before the draft and said, ‘I know you can get a lot for me.’ And we literally had received offers for everybody here from the Lakers at that time. He said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t trade me. I really want to be in New Orleans.’ And it meant a lot to us,” said Executive V.P. of Basketball Operations David Griffin.