The only winner in explosive Kawhi-DeRozan trade

DeMar DeRozan doesn’t want to leave Toronto, having spent his entire nine-year career there. Kawhi Leonard reportedly has no interest in going there. Raptors fans are losing a franchise icon for someone who — seemingly — will leave after this season and who, again, does not want to play for the team. Spurs fans are losing their franchise player for 80 cents on the dollar. Nobody is happy.

Except Lonzo Ball.

It’s no secret the point guard wants to stay in Los Angeles, especially now that LeBron James has signed with the Lakers — and it’s no secret he might have been on the move had Magic Johnson pulled the trigger on a Leonard deal.

The Spurs reportedly were uninterested in Ball, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, but that didn’t stop a report from coming out that Ball suffered a torn meniscus that required surgery. According to ESPN, the Lakers believe Ball’s camp leaked that bit of news to stay in LA. It seems to have worked, at least for now.

This may only be a temporary reprieve. It’s still easy to picture Ball getting himself shipped out — the leash on his outspoken father could be much tighter with James there. LaVar’s presence also makes Ball much, much more expendable, along with increasing the likelihood the Lakers trade for a superstar at some point in the season, which would mean moving some of their younger assets.

But, at least for the moment, Ball is safe in Los Angeles.

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