Lakers rookie’s father wasn’t fond of idea of his son playing for Celtics after they showed interest

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read

Maxwell Lewis is now comfortably a member of the Los Angeles Lakers organization, avoiding another possible destination that would have greatly upset his father Robert.

The Lewis family got its wish when the Lakers did indeed draft the Pepperdine University product. It was a full-circle moment for the elder Lewis, a diehard fan who as a boy used to sell programs at Lakers games at the Forum.

“I’m blown away,” the elder Lewis told the Los Angeles Times. “Still in shock. Because all during the process of him getting drafted and the processes of him trying out for the teams, I never once said, ‘I hope he goes to the Lakers.’ I would’ve been asking too much. C’mon, Rob. Just get him drafted. And when they said Lakers, man, I was like numb.

“It’s…it’s…it’s crazy. Hard to believe.”

The elder Lewis was sweating out the 2023 NBA Draft with his son when things finally started to happen, but not necessarily in a good way.

“They got a call early in the second round that was a mix of good and bad news,” Dan Woike wrote. “A team wanted Maxwell on a two-way deal. That team, though, was the Boston Celtics.”

The elder Lewis offered some insight into his thought process.

“What flashed through my mind is ‘I don’t know if I can wear a Boston jersey…but I’ll take it,’” he said.

It all worked out in the end, as the Lakers wound up drafting the younger Lewis.

“Then the phone call came from [Rob] Pelinka — a roster spot, not a two-way deal, was what the Lakers planned on offering,” Woike wrote. “Soon after, the Lakers made the pick at No. 40.”

The younger Lewis is now looking to have his name and photo in the programs being sold this season at Arena. The 20-year-old played in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, where he grew up, and averaged 5.4 points per game in his five outings there.

The Lakers acquired the No. 40 overall selection in a four-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers and reportedly have signed the younger Lewis to a four-year contract. He is proof that a predraft workout can pay off, as he was part of a group the Lakers watched back in late May, when he was thought to be a possible first-round pick.

It may be hard for him to find playing time during the NBA regular season with the Lakers coming back virtually intact after a very productive offseason. They were able to re-sign Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura while also adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes in free agency plus Jalen Hood-Schifino with the No. 17 overall pick in the draft.

In addition, LeBron James finally confirmed he will be returning for a 21st NBA season, and Anthony Davis will be back while the Lakers consider a possible contract extension for him.

Los Angeles is expected to remain in contention for an NBA title after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, where it was swept by the eventual champion Nuggets.

It would be quite a story if the Lakers and Celtics somehow both made it back to the NBA Finals to renew their once-legendary rivalry. If they do, there will be no doubt who the elder Lewis will be rooting for.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.