Lonzo Ball Trade Rumors: Lakers, Bulls Discussed PG Around 2019 Trade Deadline

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Monday, March 19, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls reportedly had discussions about Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball ahead of the 2019 NBA trade deadline.

On Friday, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the teams held "initial conversations" after Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times noted in late January that Ball preferred to land in either Chicago or New York if the Lakers moved him.

It's unclear whether the sides were ever close to a deal.

The 21-year-old UCLA product was hampered by ankle injuries throughout his second NBA season. He averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 47 appearances (45 starts) before the Lakers shut him down to avoid any further setbacks.

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Ball told reporters Wednesday his troublesome left ankle was "finally starting to show some good progress" and that he expected a return to the court in a couple of weeks for offseason training.

With the Lakers heading toward another potential roster shake-up over the summer, Cowley suggested the Bulls could make further overtures about a Ball trade.

"Could the No.  4 pick and a package with [Kris] Dunn be enough to pry Ball loose?" Cowley asked. "He'd be the perfect fit for what the Bulls are looking for, with an ability to push the ball and make plays, in addition to solid defense; he finished this season seventh among NBA point guards in Defensive RPM."

Los Angeles invested the second overall pick in the 2017 draft on the Anaheim native. While he's flashed high-end potential at both ends of the floor, his poor shooting percentages—38 percent overall, 31.5 percent on threes and 43.7 percent on free throws—have limited his overall impact.

The Bulls will likely wait until the draft lottery May 14 before considering any major moves.

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While they are currently slotted in at No. 4, moving into the top three would significantly increase the value of the pick. The class features a trio of prospects who've separated themselves from the rest: Duke Blue Devils teammates Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett as well as the Murray State Racers' Ja Morant.

Getting Williamson is every lottery team's dream at this stage, but landing Morant would eliminate Chicago's need for a young point guard and likely end the Ball trade talk.

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