Lonzo Ball Rumors: Bulls Will Be Knicks' 'Top Competitor' If PG Leaves Pelicans

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2021

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 18: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans in action against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first quarter at Moda Center on March 18, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Bulls are reportedly considered the New York Knicks' top competition in landing point guard Lonzo Ball should he part ways with the New Orleans Pelicans.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks made a "very light push" for Ball at the trade deadline, while the Bulls "did a lot more of the talking" with New Orleans regarding Ball.

Ball can become a restricted free agent during the offseason, meaning the Knicks or Bulls would either have to sign him to an offer sheet or trade for him if the Pelicans match any offer Ball.

Ball, 23, is in his fourth NBA season and is still trying to live up to his billing as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

It didn't work out for Ball with the Los Angeles Lakers due to a combination of factors, including injuries and inconsistent shooting, leading to him getting traded to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis deal.

Ball is arguably having his best NBA season in 2020-21. He's started all 41 games he has appeared in and is averaging a career-high 14.5 points and 3.1 three-pointers made per game to go along with 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

Also, after never shooting better than 40.6 percent from the field in his first three seasons, Ball is shooting 42.4 percent this season and 38.4 percent from long range.

Still, Ball may not be long for New Orleans since the Pels have another promising, young guard in Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who would benefit from more playing time.

If the Pelicans decide to part ways with Ball, New York and Chicago could be quality landing spots for him, as both teams have a need at point guard and could potentially get the most out of his versatile skill set.

The Knicks have perhaps the biggest need since point guards Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, while Frank Ntilikina will be a restricted free agent.

Even with those three players, the Knicks don't have a true go-to point guard, and that may be the biggest thing preventing them from going from a low-level playoff team to a contender.

The Bulls boast a talented, young backcourt headlined by Zach LaVine and Coby White, although White isn't necessarily a true point guard.

Ball brings a more varied set of skills to the table than White, and signing or trading for him would perhaps allow the Bulls to use White in a sixth man role.

Although Ball is a somewhat flawed player, he is a solid playmaker and defender who is making significant strides as a shooter, and he could be the missing piece both the Knicks and Bulls have been looking for.