LaVar Ball continues to be the biggest distraction in an otherwise excellent season for the Lakers. They’re 11th in the NBA in defensive efficiency after ranking 28th, 29th or 30th for the last four years. Rookies Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart look like keepers. They’ve traded Jordan Clarkson, clearing space for two max contracts in the offseason, and Brandon Ingram, experimenting at point guard with Lonzo Ball out injured, is having the best run of his career (nine games, 49 percent shooting 59 percent 3-pointers, 18 ppg).

Yet LaVar Ball continues to open his big mouth and spew nonsense, upsetting the positive steps the franchise has made. Perhaps he needs a wake-up call. Want to take on the sneaker giants with your Big Baller Brand? That might be a difficult challenge if Lonzo were traded to Phoenix, Orlando, or a small market team that hasn’t won a playoff series in years, and doesn’t have jerseys for Wilt, Jabbar, Shaq, Magic and Kobe Bryant hanging in the rafters.

Lakers President Magic Johnson needs to send a message to LaVar: You’re not part of the front office, you’re not calling the shots, that’s not how it works. Magic should call up the Suns and gauge their interest on this:

Lonzo Ball and the Cavs draft pick the Lakers acquired last week
Devin Booker

Hey Phoenix, you haven’t been in the top half of the NBA in attendance since 2011. You’re desperate for a star, someone who can put butts in the seats, secure the Suns some National TV games – the Lakers were given 35 this season, largely thanks to Lonzo – and get people talking.

Booker is in his 3rd year in the NBA. He’s in Phoenix for two more before it gets interesting. Just how excited is he to sign a long-term deal with a franchise that hasn’t won anything in years, and the immediate future looks bleak?