Cedric Ceballos entered the Lakers proving to be a critical piece to the team's rebuilding process, but he left the team on what appeared to be bad terms.
But that's not how Ceballos characterized his three-year career with the Lakers (1994-97) Wednesday at the 2011 ESPY's. He conceded the team's initial struggles in team chemistry and mixing in young talent together, even charging that former Lakers Coach Del Harris "couldn't control us." But Ceballos offered a different take on why he missed two games, two practices and a morning shootaround in 1996 that cost him nearly $55,000 in salary, a move some thought was in response to Magic Johnson taking his playing time.
The Times' Mark Heisler, who's well connected with the team, noted in his book "Madmen's Ball" that Ceballos was absent because he took his family to Lake Havasu City, Arizona and rented a houseboat at the London Bridge Inn & Resort, a trip Heisler said "would tear things between Ceballos and teammates, terminate his usefulness to the Lakers and mark the turning point in a career that was now headed down the drain.
Ceballos painted a vaguely different picture.
"It was some situation with me and my family," said Ceballos, who was soon traded with Rumeal Robinson to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry and Joe Kleine. "We were taking care of business. I did the best thing I could do for it. A lot of people either approved or disapproved with it, but the Lakers organization was fine with it and were happy with it. Once they knew what the reasons were, they had no problem at all?
When asked what the reasons were, Ceballos said, "No, it's still private."
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