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NBA rumors: Could Lonzo Ball’s Lakers career be over?

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Few rookies entered the NBA with as much fanfare as Los Angeles Lakers youngster Lonzo Ball last season. Even after a stellar one-year career with UCLA, the Ball hype seemed to be more about his father’s loud mouth and Los Angeles than anything else.

Now, more than halfway through his sophomore season, Ball remains sidelined to an ankle injury. He likely won’t return until March — leading to speculation that the guard will end up being a massive bust.

The backdrop in Los Angeles is real. While Ball was the talk of the town last season, all of the headlines have surrounded LeBron James this year. It’s his team. It’s his city.

With the Lakers mired in mediocrity and looking to add more star power to the mix, Ball’s future in Southern California could be coming to an end.

“Now Ball is out until March while Rajon Rondo does his job better than he can … and if the Lakers’ hoped-for deal for Anthony Davis becomes reality, Lonzo is likely, or all but certain, to be part of any package headed to New Orleans,” Mark Heisler of The Orange County Register reported this week.

Whether the Lakers can actually acquire Pelicans star Anthony Davis is somewhat irrelevant here. That seems like a long shot. Instead, it’s all about Ball and his future with the team.

Rajon Rondo has played better than his younger counterpart and seems to fit in well with the likes of King James, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. Moving Ball as part of a package for another star seems to be the likely end result here.

Ball, 21, was averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists on 41 percent shooting from the field prior to injury.

Needless to say, he has not taken the next step after an up-and-down rookie campaign. And that could lead to Ball’s tenure with the Lakers being snuffed out before it really started.