NBA Rumor: Lonzo Ball Trade?

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Bulls acquire Lonzo Ball

The Chicago Bulls have acquired guard Lonzo Ball from the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade agreement. Chicago traded Garrett Temple (also via sign-and-trade), Tomas Satoransky, a 2024 second-round Draft pick and cash considerations to New Orleans as part of the deal. Ball (6-6, 190) was the No. 2-overall selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 and an All-Rookie Second-Team member in 2017-18. He has career averages of 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.51 steals over 217 games (204 starts) in four seasons with the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans.

Aware of those parameters, the Heat last Sunday picked up the 2021-22 $19.4 million team option on the contract of veteran guard Goran Dragic, with that contract along with the contract of neophyte center Precious Achiuwa utilized as matching salaries for the Lowry acquisition. The advance work on the Lowry possibility at the NBA trading deadline was in marked contrast to the sign-and-trade agreement between the Bulls and Pelicans for Ball, with no trade consideration in that case at the trading deadline.

The NBA has opened up investigations into possible tampering violations involving two sign-and-trade deals completed in free agency, Chicago’s acquisition of New Orleans’s Lonzo Ball and Miami’s acquisition of Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, sources told ESPN on Saturday. The NBA’s probe will examine illegal contact among teams and players ahead of the opening of free agency on Monday at 6 p.m. ET, sources told ESPN. Team executives, players agents and players have been notified of the opening of the league office’s investigations, sources said.

Just before the start of the 2019-20 season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed tampering and increased penalties for violating league rules. “We already have rules on the books,” Silver said, “and essentially the league was coming in at the direction of our teams and saying — and I’ll accept responsibility — you need to do a better job enforcing the rules that are already on your books and do a better job ensuring that there is a culture around the league where people believe there are absolute consequences if you don’t play by the rules.”

There seems to be legitimate traction on a three-team sign-and-trade framework between Chicago, New Orleans and Charlotte that would likely nullify any of the Bulls’ fears of losing out on their preferred point guard target. From conversations with multiple league sources, the framework that would be discussed appears to focus on landing Ball in Chicago, Devonte’ Graham in New Orleans and Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart and draft capital to Charlotte.

Bulls willing to trade Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young for Lonzo Ball?

Similarly, even if the contracts of Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young become fully guaranteed by Monday’s deadline, that doesn’t mean either or both dependable rotation players are sticking for the long haul. In fact, league sources said Young has been available for a while leading up to the opening of Monday’s official negotiating period for free agents, which — ahem — begins at 5 p.m. CT Monday. And Satoransky could be included if the Pelicans cooperate on a signed-and-traded Ball.

One league source said Young has been dangled as much for productive players as he has been for salary cap space, which would suggest the Bulls are covering all their bases, especially because both the Celtics and possibly the Mavericks continued to be rumored to be in the Ball sweepstakes. Clearing cap space to sign Ball to an offer sheet that the Pelicans matched would be the Bulls’ worst-case scenario. Either that, or the Bulls are confident they can execute the Satoranský-for-Ball sign-and-trade scenario.

Michael Scotto: Regarding New Orleans, the scuttlebutt, as they say, had been Lowry potentially going there and to get him around $30 million. With that in mind, he’s their top guy, and there’s been a rumor out there about Lonzo Ball and a potential sign-and-trade with Malcolm Brogdon. It seemed to me that was more of a fallback option for Lowry. It looks like they’re trying to clear that cap space. Somepeople are thinking they maybe did it to match Lonzo, but Ball wasn’t getting $30 million. Read between the lines there a little bit.

We’ve heard the potential interest from the Lakers and Clippers as well as a mutual interest between Ball and the Chicago Bulls, but on today’s episode of The Lowe Post, a new ‘hot rumor’ is let out of the bag. “Have you heard anything about Brogdon for Lonzo in a sign-and-trade?” Jonathan Givony of ESPN asked. “That’s been one of the hot rumors, that’s been one of the hot rumors,” Zach Lowe said. “Don’t know what to think of it honestly so I haven’t mentioned it because I kind of don’t know if I believe it.”

Clippers, Bulls, Nuggets and Hawks showed interest in Lonzo Ball at trade deadline

Ball was involved in trade discussions with several teams before last month’s trade deadline, with the LA Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks among the teams showing interest, sources said. Some executives came away from those talks with the belief that Ball might be available in a sign-and-trade in the offseason as a restricted free agent.

Teams in need of a point guard are preparing for Ball in free agency even with the Pelicans owning matching rights. New Orleans has only $91 million on its books for next season, giving the team cap space and plenty of room under the tax line. But Josh Hart, who has also been proficient playing alongside Williamson, will also be a restricted free agent — and likely will be a more cost-efficient option than Ball. Attempts to move Eric Bledsoe, who is owed $18 million next year, haven’t been successful.

On Friday, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin addressed the team’s decision to retain Ball. “He’s a guy that can do some spectacular things,” he said. “What we’ve seen him do is be as hard a worker as we have, improve his shooting as much as you possibly can, be diligent in the weight room. He loves his teammates. He’s made it very clear personally, 1-to-1, that he wants to be here. And yet, what you will read ‘This is a player who doesn’t want to be here. He’s clearly not in our plans so you should trade him for a ham sandwich.’ Well, that doesn’t make any sense when we know the actual real story behind Lonzo Ball.”

Yes, the Pelicans love their young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, et. al. But if you’re wondering why Lonzo Ball’s name is coming up in trade talks, it’s in part due to New Orleans’ desire to move off some of its expensive, longer deals. While Ball’s deal is expiring (at about $11 million), Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams both have two full seasons left, for nearly $90 million. Ball could serve as a reward to a trade partner for taking on one of those contracts.

LaVar Ball: “Lonzo’s always been a playmaker. Why are you trying to change him into a defensive specialist that stays in the corner and shoots 3s? And you’re trying to change Zion and Brandon Ingram who, all through their careers, have never been playmakers. Scorers! Now you want to put the ball in their hands and be playmakers?! … Go score the ball and do what you do and guess what? They’re gonna have a hard time trying to win every game if the playmaker ain’t making the right plays.”

Pelicans keeping Lonzo Ball?

Some league insiders wonder if he’s even still a candidate to be traded, though his restricted-free-agent status certainly complicates the situation. Agent Rich Paul will undoubtedly be looking for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft to be given a hefty deal somewhere, and it’s possible Griffin would prefer to move on and free up additional playing time for Lewis and Alexander-Walker, both of whom he drafted in the first round.

Trade talks involving Ball have fizzled for now, league sources say. Ball has been at times the Pelicans’ best defender, and he’s certainly their best playmaker in the backcourt. But New Orleans needs to consider the type of contract Ball will demand this offseason in restricted free agency, and whether giving it to him would limit future possibilities. Trading the 23-year-old will remain a possibility, especially since the Pelicans are expected to be active ahead of the trade deadline. Executives say they could be buyers or sellers, depending on what direction the trade winds blow.

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.”

Lonzo Ball addresses trade rumors

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.”

Pelicans also having trade discussions about Eric Bledsoe


Knicks had some interest in Lonzo Ball trade last offseason

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.

Lonzo Ball available?

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.

Anthony Davis officially a Laker

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

“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.”


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