Lonzo Ball certainly does not want to leave La La Land

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball dunks the ball over Cal State Northridge forward Tavrion Dawson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Family is apparently more important than money to NBA prospect Lonzo Ball.

When asked on ESPN’s “SportsNation” whether he’d rather play for the Lakers or be draft No. 1 overall, this is what the former UCLA star said:

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone says Ball’s answer is bizarre:

Ball, a product of Chino Hills, would naturally rather play close to home. I totally get his angle of hoping to play around friends and family and not having to move across the country. But most high level prospects dream of being taken No. 1 overall and gliding across that stage to shake the NBA commissioner’s hand. It’s unnatural and weird to see him say he’d rather fall in the draft (likely to No. 3, where the Lakers will probably be picking). He’d likely be missing out on not only some endorsements that would go with being the top pick, but also the overall advantage of owning bragging rights of being the top pick. I’ve never been a serious NBA prospect, but I’m sure that stuff matters. Apparently it doesn’t to Ball.

Sports reporter Albert Breer is down on Ball:

Ball talked more about his love of the Lakers on ESPN’s “The Jump”:

On ESPN’s “First Take,” Max Kellerman says if Ball is still available when the Lakers are up in the draft, the decision is a no-brainer:

That might not happen for the Lakers (or Ball), however:

Despite the organization’s best efforts to tank the rest of the regular season, the Lakers currently own the NBA’s third-worst record with four games left, thanks to consecutive wins against the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs this week. And that’s a problem. As of now, they have a 46.9 percent chance of landing a top-three pick — odds split relatively evenly across each of those picks. That also means there’s a 53.1 percent chance they could slide down to fourth or lower and therefore forfeit their top-three protected pick to the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of the 2012 trade for Steve Nash. That scenario would leave the Lakers with only their first-round pick from the Houston Rockets (from the Lou Williams deal this past February), which is currently slotted at 28th. The difference between the No. 1 overall pick and the second, third or 28th picks, respectively, is $3.3, $6.1 and $24 million.

Ball Don’t Lie’s Ben Rohrbach says Ball should stop with this nonsense:

But there are a couple reasons why Ball may be better served keeping quiet, something his father has also found impossible in recent months. First, while teams likely won’t let this prevent them from drafting him, it will at least give them pause about their ability to keep him beyond his rookie deal, for fear he might eventually bolt to L.A.. That could serve as a tiebreaker on a draft board, and maybe that’s what Ball is trying to do here. Still, this is no way to introduce yourself to the fans. Say the Celtics draft Ball. Are Bostonians going to be all in on him knowing he’d rather be a Laker? Maybe they will. Paul Pierce grew up a Lakers fan, and he’ll have his No. 34 retired in the Garden rafters soon.

What do you think? Is Ball being ridiculous by saying he would rather play for the Lakers than be the No. 1 pick?

Debate by downloading our app on iOS at apple.co/1ITwL4w or on Android at bit.ly/fandings. You also can play online at playfandings.com.