After two seasons comprised of injury issues and persistent trade speculation with the Los Angeles Lakers, third-year guard Lonzo Ball is excited for a fresh start with the Pelicans in New Orleans. Ball was part of the package that the Lakers sent to the Pelicans in exchange for All-Star forward Anthony Davis last month.
"I was kind of excited, honestly," Ball said of his initial reaction to being traded to the Pelicans, via ESPN. "I've been hearing my name for two years now. So it didn't bother me at all. We were all ready for it.
"... 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. 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 thinks that injury issues -- he missed 65 games over his two seasons in Los Angeles -- were a major factor in things not working out as well for him as he may have hoped with the Lakers. However, the former second overall pick is doing his best to focus on the future, rather than to dwell on the past.
"Obviously, injuries kind of messed up things a little bit," Ball said of his brief tenure with the Lakers. "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. 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."
"Honestly, you just got to run the lane, set screens and roll," Ball said of playing with Williamson. "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."
Now healthy, with the consistent trade speculation behind him (at least for now), and surrounded by other talented young players, Ball should finally get an opportunity to reach his potential.