Lonzo Ball ready for 'fresh start' next season with New Orleans Pelicans

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
While he's played nearly his entire basketball career in Southern California, Lonzo Ball is excited to get started in New Orleans — and more than ready to team up with Zion Williamson. (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Lonzo Ball is ready for a fresh start.

After spending two seasons with the Lakers, Ball was traded last month in a blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. Ball, along with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and several draft picks, will pick up his NBA career in New Orleans next season.

While he’s spent his entire basketball career in Southern California — he grew up outside of Los Angeles and played at UCLA before he was drafted — Ball is ready for the next chapter.

“I was kind of excited, honestly,” Ball said on Saturday, via ESPN. “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 [Brandon Ingram] and [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do.”

Ball said he has been hearing his name in trade talks since he first entered the league, which made the news easier for him to take when it finally came. He was actually in a car on his way to watch his brother, LaMelo, play in the Drew League when saw the trade go down on Twitter last month.

Had the 21-year-old been traded in his first year with the Lakers, however, that would have been a different story.

“I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad,” Ball said, via ESPN. “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.”

Playing with Zion Williamson

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of his move to New Orleans is getting to play with Zion Williamson.

Williamson, the Duke phenom who the Pelicans took with the top overall pick in the NBA draft last month, is unlike anybody Ball has ever seen before. Being able to play with the reigning Naismith Player of the Year, Ball said, is extremely exciting.

“Man, I've never seen somebody that size move like him,” Ball said, via ESPN. “He's only 19, right? He's definitely a freak. I've never seen nothing like it.

“Honestly, you just got to run the lane, set screens and roll. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it's going to be very tough to stop him.”

Regardless, Ball feels welcome in Louisiana — and is excited for a move that he thinks will fit well with his game.

“I know New Orleans is excited to have me, and I'm excited to get started,” Ball said, via ESPN. “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.”

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