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Lonzo Ball’s father says the UCLA star ‘will only play for the Lakers'

Ball is projected as a top-two pick in the 2017 NBA draft. The Lakers have the league’s third-worst record.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA standout point guard Lonzo Ball will only play for the Los Angeles Lakers. At least that’s what his father said during an interview on The Kevin and Mike Show, an Arizona sports radio show.

"My son will only play for the Lakers,” LaVar Ball said on the show.

A Los Angeles native, the freshman Ball is averaging 15 points, 7.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in his lone season with the No. 5 Bruins (24-3), shooting 42.1 percent from three-point range.

He is projected as a top-three pick in the 2017 NBA draft, a draft class regarded as one of the deepest in recent memory. Los Angeles (19-40) currently has the third-worst record in the NBA behind just Phoenix (18-40) and Brooklyn (9-48).

Ball’s dad clarified his comments after UCLA’s 77-72 victory over No. 4 Arizona on Saturday night. Elder Ball said playing for the Lakers is merely his wish for his son:

"All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I'm going to speak it into existence," LaVar told ESPN on Saturday night. "I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn't saying he's only going to play for the Lakers. I'm not trying to say he won't play for a different team. But I'd like him to play for the Lakers because it's home and I'd love him to learn from Magic (Johnson) He's the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson." Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider

It is unclear if the Lakers have intentions of selecting Ball, should he fall to them in the draft.

Washington’s Markelle Fultz is the top-ranked point guard in the upcoming draft, and De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky) and Dennis Smith, Jr. (N.C. State) are two highly regarded point guards expected to enter the NBA in 2017.

Los Angeles also starts second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell, who is averaging 14.5 points and 4.7 assists this season, though it is unclear if the Lakers — now under the leadership of five-time champion and Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson — will build around him in the future.

Ball has little-to-no power in deciding which team selects him, nor would he have the financial incentive to force a trade elsewhere.

The NBA instituted a ‘designated player’ maximum contract in its new collective bargaining agreement — one that allows to sign players they drafted to extremely lucrative contracts should they reach certain benchmarks (like All-Star appearance and All-NBA team honors).

An example of a player who could potentially benefit from the ‘designated player’ contract is Indiana’s Paul George, who could sign a five-year, $219 million contract should he make an All-NBA team this season or next.

This isn’t the first time Lonzo’s dad spoke out about his son.

In a February interview with TMZ Sports, LaVar Ball said Lonzo will be better than two-time league Most Valuable Player and four-time All-Star Stephen Curry:

"You can't compare my boy to anyone," LaVar Ball said. "He's gonna be better than Steph Curry in the NBA!

“Steph Curry’s pretty good,” he continued. “My son is young, he’s got time to grow. And you only consider him good because he’s won a couple championships. … He makes some shots at the right time. But he’s not as young as my boy. You not gonna be able to say this until my boy finishes playing his career; then they [are going to] look back and say, ‘Man, how did LaVar know all this?'”

Curry spent three seasons at Davidson, where he averaged 28.6 points and 2.5 steals per game his junior year. He averaged 21.5 points per game as a freshman.

Your father is supposed to be your biggest fan, and LaVar Ball’s repeated hyping up of his son is understandable, and (to a certain extent) warranted.

But it might be time to pump the brakes a bit.