NBA Rumor: Lonzo Ball Trade?

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

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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.”


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.”

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.
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May 17, 2021 | 3:16 pm EDT Update