Lonzo Ball Rumors: Bulls, Celtics, Raptors Expected to Show Interest in Free-Agent PG

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) moves the ball up court in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors could be among the suitors for veteran point guard Lonzo Ball, according to Stadium's Shams Charania.

Stadium @Stadium

Chicago, Boston and Toronto are expected to show interest in RFA point guard Lonzo Ball, per our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA</a> Insider <a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a>, presented by <a href="https://twitter.com/ATT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ATT</a> 5G. <a href="https://t.co/qlN2L7Ey3w">pic.twitter.com/qlN2L7Ey3w</a>

Ball is eligible to become a restricted free agent this offseason if the New Orleans Pelicans extend to him a $14.6 million qualifying offer.

That would afford the Pelicans the opportunity to match an offer sheet from another team, but Charania indicated New Orleans might be looking to go in a different direction.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the Pels are looking to add Kyle Lowry in the hope the 35-year-old can help raise the team's ceiling similar to how Chris Paul elevated a young Phoenix Suns roster.

That doesn't necessarily mean the door is closed on Ball returning to the Big Easy, but it sure looks like he'll be moving on.

Ball hasn't broken through as an All-Star-level talent, but he has made steady improvements through his first four years. He's coming off a 2020-21 season in which he averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds and set personal bests in field-goal percentage (41.4) and three-point percentage (37.8).

Add in his age, 23, and he's an attractive target for teams in the point guard market.

The Bulls would be a somewhat surprising landing spot if only because they used the No. 7 overall pick on Coby White in 2019. But bumping White to the bench might be the necessary move for Chicago to take a step forward next year. 

NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson reported Wednesday the team is looking at a number of possible playmakers to add.

The Celtics and Raptors have a much more pressing need for a floor general. Boston traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Toronto's pursuit of Ball would coincide with Lowry's departure.

Given what he brings to the table, Ball's market will surely expand as the free-agent negotiating window draws closer.