Lonzo Ball Happy Pelicans Didn't Trade Him at Deadline: 'I'm Where I Want to Be'March 31, 2021
Lonzo Ball spent most of the first half of this season seeing his name bandied about in trade rumors before the New Orleans Pelicans ultimately chose to keep him past the deadline.
Ball said Wednesday he's happy right where he's at.
"I'm happy to be here. ... In the end, I didn't get traded and I'm where I want to be," Ball told reporters. "What happened was supposed to happen and I'm where I'm supposed to be at."
Ball is having the best season of his NBA career, averaging 14.2 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds, though he suffered a strained right hip earlier this month. His 38.5 percent rate from three-point range is a career-best and continues an upward trend since his struggles as a rookie.
A restricted free agent this offseason, Ball's free agency will be potentially the most intriguing among young players hitting the open market.
While it's clear Ball does most things well on the floor, there are some legitimate questions about his ceiling as a lead guard—thanks in large part due to his historic allergy to the free-throw line. Ball averages just 1.1 free throw attempts per game, one of the NBA's lowest rates among regular rotation players. Most other players on the list are spot-up shooters who rarely handle the ball, whereas Ball is viewed in some circles as someone who should handle full-time point guard duties.
Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Ball will be looking for a contract averaging $20 million annually, an eye-opening number for a player some around the league still aren't sold on. That said, all it takes is one team to fall in love with Ball's two-way potential and improvements as a shooter to pay the price.
We'll just have to see if New Orleans is that team.