“If you just let Lonzo be Lonzo and Zion be Zion, they’re gonna team up for 8, 10 points a night,” said one NBA coach. For now, it appears there’s little expectation New Orleans will move Ball before the March 25 trade deadline, sources said.
Among the teams that has interest in Lonzo Ball and could pursue him: The Bulls, sources said. The sides so far have not had dialogue, per sources.
Multiple league sources told Action Network that Chicago is (currently) the most likely landing spot for Ball. That’s based on multiple factors, including the preference of both Ball and his agent, Rich Paul, Chicago’s interest in making a roster move and the Pelicans’ openness to discussions.
And as Ball’s name flutters around a myriad of trade rumors, the Pelicans’ season somewhat hangs in the balance. As long as he’s still playing, the possibilities of him harnessing the full extents of his talent still exists. Therefore the chances of the Pelicans propelling back into the playoff race lingers in the realm of possibility. “I mean he knows his name is being involved with being traded and all of that, but the way he’s handled it is pretty good,” Ingram said. “He comes in forceful and ready to play the game of basketball and he’s there for all of his brothers on the basketball court.”
In conversations with executives, a few names repeatedly popped up as logical trade candidates over the next several weeks. The New Orleans Pelicans have already engaged teams on veteran guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick.
Brian Windhorst: One of the places that, in addition to Golden State that you could think of Lonzo, one of the places that you would think of Lonzo as a possibility and I've heard out there would be Chicago. If Chicago might have an interest there... But we'll see about that.
Brian Windhorst: There have also been rumors about Kelly Oubre-Lonzo Ball trade. I mean that's no secret, that's sort of been out there. (...) The Pelicans have struggled, especially defensively. (...) They've shopped their guards. They've shopped Eric Bledsoe, Ball and JJ Redick.
Ball returned to action Friday night and played his best game of the season in a 131-126 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Ball had a season-high 27 points (tying his high in a Pelicans uniform), matched a career high with seven 3-pointers and had his second-best assist output of the season with eight. "I just stay the course," Ball said when asked if he had any extra motivation this week. "I've been playing basketball for a long time. I put a lot of work in and just try to play my game. That's how I play. I just try to stay away from all the noise and just go out there and try to help my team win games."
Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said he spoke with Ball earlier this week about being able to play through the noise and playing at a high level. "Nobody likes distractions, but you have distractions all the time," Van Gundy told reporters on Wednesday. "It's trade rumors, it's COVID, it's family, whatever it is. Other voices. There's always distractions, and a big part of being successful in this league is being able to block out distractions and being able to do your job."
In the offseason, the Knicks did their homework on the point guard situation in New Orleans. But the homework they did at that point wasn’t about Lonzo Ball. Now, two months from the 2021 trade deadline, some teams believe Ball will be available in trade scenarios for the right asking price, SNY sources say, confirming an Athletic report. One team monitoring the situation said the Pelicans value Ball and won’t deal him without getting a significant return.
Would the Knicks have interest? That’s unclear. But the emergence of rookie Immanuel Quickley could make New York less apt to trade for a young point guard. Entering the 2020 offseason, there had been support in some corners of Madison Square Garden for a trade to acquire Ball. But that support wasn’t strong enough for New York to complete a trade.
Feb. 6: most players who signed free-agent contracts in the offseason can begin to be traded. A team that is expected to be prominent in the trade market picture, rival teams expect: The New Orleans Pelicans. The franchise is off to an uneven 5-10 start to the season. New Orleans has been receiving calls about the availability of Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick and has shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams, sources tell The Athletic. A move would create a clearer pathway for young guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis in the Pelicans’ rotation.
NBA Central: Jay Williams is hearing that Lonzo Ball may be used as a trading asset in New Orleans (🎥 Keyshawn, JWill And Zubin) pic.twitter.com/HPiUVhNLDa
Plus, people down in Orlando tell me Lonzo Ball looked like he’d checked out the whole time the Pels were there, and that they expect some significant roster adjustments in New Orleans before next season.
If the Pelicans do decide to make a few big moves at the trade deadline, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said that he’s gotten the impression that New Orleans would trade Ball if the right offer came along. “I think he’d be available,” Windhorst said on the latest Hoop Collective podcast.
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the draft rights to De'Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap right and cash. As part of the trade, the Lakers also sent Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, Moritz Wagner and a future second round draft pick to the Wizards, who in return, sent cash consideration to the Pelicans.
League sources told ESPN's Bobby Marks that the Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards are expected to cooperate with the Lakers if Leonard is still undecided by noon on Saturday. The July 6 date was agreed upon initially in the Lakers' and Pelicans' deal sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Davis. The deal was based on the Lakers using the $32 million in cap space created on a max free agent like Leonard or on multiple free agents.
"I guarantee: Like I say again, it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life and they will never win another championship," LaVar Ball told ESPN while at the Drew League on Saturday to watch his son LaMelo play. "Guarantee it. "They're going to regret it. I'm going to have fun with it. Because I told you all, it was crashing down. Now [the Lakers] completely crashed, but at least my son got off the boat before the thing exploded. I gave them a chance. You can rewind it and go back. I said if you get the three Ball brothers, you can survive this. You let him go, oh, it's going to be a cold day in hell. Trust and believe that."
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
Marc Stein: The Lakers' ability to seal a deal for Anthony Davis likely hinges on what the No. 4 pick can fetch. If the No. 4 pick can land a player to excite New Orleans, on top of Ingram and Ball, then the teams are headed for an agreement in principle before draft night next Thursday
Marc Stein: The Lakers have made Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the June 20 draft available in trade talks with the Pelicans, league sources say. New Orleans has made it known it hope to assemble a three-teams-or-more deal before surrendering Anthony Davis
The Phoenix Suns have already told other NBA front offices that their No. 6 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is on the table for a potential trade if “the right veteran guard is available,” according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. What constitutes “right” and “veteran,” of course, is hard to say. On Saturday, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro shot down a rumor that Phoenix might be willing to deal the No. 6 overall selection for Los Angeles Lakers third-year point guard Lonzo Ball.
And on an appearance on ESPN LA’s “Mason & Ireland,” Pelicans beat writer Andrew Lopez gave the Los Angeles Lakers a bit of good news. He reported that, while the Lakers are still trailing the Boston Celtics, Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry is very interested in Lonzo Ball (h/t Christian Rivas of Lonzo Wire). "It’s probably Boston first and then I’d put the Lakers second," Lopez said. "The Lakers do have good assets that people in the Pelicans’ organization value. For instance, Alvin Gentry loves the idea of having a Lonzo Ball-Jrue Holiday backckourt. LaVar Ball does not love the idea of a Lonzo Ball-Jrue Holiday backcourt, so that makes things a little bit complicated. They like some of the guys higher in the draft."
If there's a deal with the Lakers, most sources would want Ball involved regardless of any parent distractions from his attention-seeking father, Lavar. "People just don't grasp how good he is," a source said.
Ball intrigues the Bulls as a pass-first, defensive-minded point guard with positional size who can best maximize the talents of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr.
According to one NBA executive, the Bulls and Lakers did start initial conversations on point guard Lonzo Ball shortly after the Ball camp made it public that the Bulls would be one of his desired destinations if Los Angeles were to move him.
Ball understands this summer presents the chance at a positive step for the opportunity of self-improvement — no matter what happens. “At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control,” Ball told The Athletic. “If I get traded, then I get traded. But I’m going to be ready to go. The goal is to be the best player I can for whichever team.”
Duane Rankin: On eve of Thursday's #NBA trade deadline, Josh Jackson and TJ Warren aren't on trading block, and #Suns haven't reached out to #Lakers and #Pelicans about a potential deal related to Lonzo Ball, league sources have told @azcentral
If New Orleans wants more than that, there are also rumblings that the Suns could emerge as a third team for Ball—much to his father’s delight—possibly with T.J. Warren and a young player going to the Pelicans. However, a source with knowledge of the trade discussions said the Ball family’s desires have no bearing on how the Lakers or Pelicans will approach negotiations.
Late Monday night, the Lakers changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people said. The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said. The Lakers were also winning to also send the Pelicans two first-round draft picks.
In a radio interview with Phoenix station Arizona Sports 98.7, Ball called out Luke Walton and the Lakers both, blaming the franchise and the head coach for holding his son back. The Lakers gave my boy that losing attitude…Luke Walton was the worst coach ever for Lonzo. He’s been losing for three years.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.
Upon learning of that offer, Ball’s camp expressesd concern about the 6-6 point guard winding up in New Orleans if traded. One team with which there was mutual interest was the Phoenix Suns, according to two people unauthorized to speak publicly. Phoenix is a team filled with young players that is desperate for a point guard, but the Suns could only make that work if it were added to the deal as a third team.
Brad Turner: Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.
As the Los Angeles Lakers pursue New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center Anthony Davis ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, the initial offers have been underwhelming, including the Lakers' first offer of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, league sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: in the Lakers first offer to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, LA offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers have offered the Pelicans two of their talented young players -- among Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart -- with Rondo or Stephenson as core parts of a deal. For Pelicans, these have not been remotely serious offers.
Tania Ganguli: After learning of the Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans, Lonzo Ball’s camp maintains that New Orleans isn’t the desired destination. Phoenix makes the most basketball sense if Ball were to be traded and according to two sources there is mutual interest.
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers let Demps know one of trade scenarios would include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, No. 1 pick, per source. Eric Pincus: Trying to parse BT's language - if Lakers have discussed multiple scenarios that include all of the listed players - doesn't mean one specific scenario includes all of the players. Tania Ganguli: actually, no. this is one of the options. all together.
Ramona Shelburne: Regarding the Lakers and Pelicans conversations today, I’m told it’s “common sense to assume no one but LeBron James would be untouchable”
According to sources, the Pelicans view Ball as a player who would become the starting point guard. They don’t see Jrue Holiday as a point guard because he “doesn’t want to be a point guard,” one source said. The sources said the Pelicans would play Ball 35 minutes a night and make sure he “would fit” in with New Orleans so he could become a star.
The New Orleans Pelicans are open to trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers – but it’ll come at a hefty price. According to sources unauthorized to speak publicly on the deal, a Lakers offer for Davis would have to start with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick. Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last week.
In recent weeks, the Lakers have been adamant internally that they would not trade Ball. It’s unclear if that stance has changed now that Davis could be available. The Lakers’ planned to meet Monday morning to discuss their options. According to sources, Paul has not given the Pelicans a list of preferred destinations, but he will inform interested teams whether or not Davis would sign an extension with them if they were to trade for him.
If the Lakers’ hoped-for deal for Anthony Davis becomes reality, Lonzo Ball is likely, or all but certain, to go to New Orleans. Assuming the Lakers want a third superstar with LeBron James and AD—from a list starting with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson—they have to slice more than $20 million off next season’s cap, which could go to New Orleans in a trade for Davis. Aside from James’ $37.4 million, two Lakers will make more than $2.1 million: Ball at $8.7 million, and Brandon Ingram at $7.3 million... making the young players likely, or all but certain, to be in any deal for AD.
In the West, the Lakers have to be part of the conversation because of the LeBron James factor, though it's not clear to rival executives whom they're willing to trade in any deal and whom they aren't. "At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo [Ball] a little bit, but now they don't want to trade him," one of the execs said. Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac and Moritz Wagner are available, rival executives say, while pretty much everyone else is off the table. To get Beal, it's going to take a lot more than that.
To date, Los Angeles has not offered players such as Ingram, Kuzma, Ball and Hart in trade discussions. They value each of them highly. The Lakers should have enough cap space to keep all four and still sign a top free agent like Kevin Durant (2019-20 player option), Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard (player option) this offseason. Will Ingram still be a part of L.A.'s young core in six months?
The Lakers won’t surrender Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kyzma or Josh Hart to the Phoenix Suns in their pursuit of forward Trevor Ariza, said people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The Lakers have informed teams that have called about trade proposals that they will not give up any of their young core unless it’s for a superstar player, one person said.
The most enticing mega-trade on the board not involving Anthony Davis: Lillard to the Lakers for a package centered around Lonzo Ball. Lillard is a perfect fit next to LeBron, and LeBron respects Lillard's game, per sources familiar with the matter. The Lakers could absorb Lillard into cap space this summer without sending out giant matching salaries -- salaries they don't have on the books.
For young players like Ball that haven’t gone through a summer of trade rumors, it can be discouraging, but Ball was unbothered by all the outside chatter, he said in an episode of “Ball In the Family.” There’s trade rumors every year… Athletes in general, you’re never really 100 percent safe. Wherever you’re at. Anything can happen, especially in the offseason, so all I can do is just make sure I’m ready to play at the best of my abilities.
According to ESPN's Jalen Rose, the timing of Ball's injury report and his social media beef with Kuzma are clear signals that Ball has been working to diminish his trade value. Rose floated the theory Wednesday, and explained that Ball is doing anything he can to ensure he remains a Laker. Jalen Rose: "This is obvious. Think about it - the kid grew up in California. All he ever wanted to do is be a Los Angeles Laker. His father wished it into existence. …. His father said he was going to be the greatest point guard of all time, and guess what Magic Johnson said? 'I want your number hanging in the rafters. He doesn't want to leave there. You think it was an accident when he dropped the diss record on his own teammate during the heightened time of free agency when they're trying to woo LeBron James?"
Mike Greenberg: "What you're saying is that Lonzo Ball has spent the last month or thereabouts purposely diminishing his own trade value?" Jalen Rose: "That's smart. He doesn't want to leave L.A. If you don't want to leave L.A., do all of the things that don't make people think you're an attractive commodity to bring to their team. Do the San Antonio Spurs want Lonzo Ball?
Adrian Wojnarowski: "That [Lonzo Ball] knee injury, I think there was a belief around the Lakers is that it was within his world that that got leaked out there to keep him from getting traded. He doesn’t want to be traded from L.A. It wasn’t the Lakers who wanted information out on that knee injury. There were a lot of teams who were checking on possible deals with the Lakers. They wanted to know. There were a lot of questions about that knee."
The question now is whether the Lakers even have enough to convince the San Antonio Spurs to send Leonard there. With San Antonio believed to be uninterested in Lonzo Ball, the Lakers have three other intriguing young players — Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — plus their future first-round picks to include in a deal.
"If they wanna trade him, trade him. It'll be the worst move they ever made." LaVar went off at his JBA season opener on Thursday afternoon -- when we asked about the rumblings that Magic Johnson could ship Lonzo to San Antonio to get Kawhi Leonard. "If they wanna trade him, trade him. If they don't wanna trade him, keep him. He's gonna do his thing. I'm not worried about no trades.
Harrison Faigen: This is where aggregation gets out of control and why journalists get sick of it. Everyone is writing up that tweet saying that Lonzo would need to be gone if LeBron James came, but the problem is, Haynes never said that. Here is the transcript of the question and his answer
As the Lakers head into a potentially franchise-changing offseason, their front office is keeping its options fully open. While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations.
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
On Monday, LaVar, LiAngelo and LaMelo appeared in studio with ESPN LA’s Marcellus Wiley and Travis Rodgers. Late in the interview, the potential of Lonzo getting traded for Leonard and was brought up. LaVar was having none of it. He said: “Stop it. Stop it. I’m gonna tell you why (that won’t happen). You know what Lonzo is to me? Gelo is my pretty boy. This (LaMelo) is my wow boy. But Zo is the people’s choice. They won’t let it happen. You can’t get rid of Zo! He’s the people’s choice. “Everybody on the outside can say what they want, but when you put it down on paper, the Ball boys are good for business.”
Pulling LaVar Ball aside and privately threatening to trade his son if he keeps squawking is unlikely to have much impact when everyone knows the list of teams willing to trade for Lonzo Ball and inherit the circus surrounding him is nonexistent. While Kyle Kuzma has looked like a draft steal to rival Donovan Mitchell, and Brandon Ingram quietly continues to make real strides, it’s hard to notice anything else in Lakerland when the daily Ball soap opera is so suffocating. (To his credit, though, Lonzo Ball has been a steadying force through the latest controversy and a subsequent four-game winning streak.)
April 12, 2021 | 8:49 am EDT Update
Former UConn Huskies coach and 13-year NBA veteran Kevin Ollie has been hired as head coach and director of player development for the Overtime Elite, a new professional basketball league for top prospects between 16 and 18 years old, sources told ESPN. A formal announcement is expected on Monday morning.
Overtime Elite, which will feature up to 30 players ages 16 to 18 who will be paid a minimum salary of $100,000 along with bonuses and equity, is slated to begin in September 2021. If an Overtime Elite player doesn’t ultimately pursue a pro career, the league will pay them up to $100,000 towards college tuition. Overtime, which includes Durant, Carmelo Anthony and late NBA Commissioner David Stern among its investors, was founded in 2016. Ollie, who is still in arbitration with UConn over the $10 million he was still owed on his contract and isn’t permitted to discuss his exit from the program as a result, wrote an Op-Ed for The Athletic about his return to the basketball world.
OTE is designed to offer the world’s top prospects the development, education and economic empowerment to address these issues head-on. On the court, OTE players will compete against the top prospects from around the world. They will have access to pro-grade training and coaching to level-up their game, and to world-class facilities, nutritionists and sports scientists who can hone their bodies. Players will also earn six-figure salaries and have the opportunity to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. They will earn a high school diploma and receive professional training in financial literacy, social media, media training and the business of basketball. I had to learn all of this on my own when I entered the NBA.
April 12, 2021 | 8:19 am EDT Update
Ohm Youngmisuk: Paul George says his toe and mental game is in a good place. “I just got into a good groove, rhythm, physical, mental space. I know what I need to do… I’ve been locked in and focused… I’ve just been at peace, I’m loving and enjoying the game. And the team is coming together.”
At 33, Curry is in the midst of the type of special relationship with one team and one region that few of today’s players can match. As Curry now sits 18 points behind Chamberlain ahead of tonight’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets (10 p.m. ET on ESPN), we caught up with three all-time greats from three different eras, who all understand the responsibility that comes with being the face of an organization for an entire career: Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller and Jerry West. Passing Chamberlain will only solidify what the organization has known for years. “Look,” Miller said of Curry. “He is Mr. Warrior. He’s Mr. Warrior.”