Lonzo Ball Trade Rumors: Lakers PG 'Intrigues' Bulls Entering 2019 NBA Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 19:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a foul against the Houston Rockets in the first half at Toyota Center on January 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  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 Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls reportedly have interest in trading for Lonzo Ball, perhaps as the facilitator of a three-team deal where the Lakers land Anthony Davis.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported Ball "intrigues" the Bulls because of his passing ability and defense, which they view as a good fit with Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr. Johnson speculated the Bulls could use the No. 7 pick as part of a trade package for Ball, either going back to Los Angeles or to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers and Pelicans still could work out a deal that does not involve a third party, but it's unlikely Ball would be involved in such a swap. LaVar Ball told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN in February that he does not want his son in New Orleans.

"We want to be in L.A.," LaVar Ball said. "But if he's traded, I don't want Lonzo in New Orleans. Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence."

That stance may have changed since February—Lonzo has taken a more active role following the fallout of Big Baller Brand—but the Pelicans do not appear especially enamored with the idea of acquiring Ball. Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin has been publicly clear that he only wants players who want to be in New Orleans; even the idea that Lonzo would balk at coming is enough to give the organization pause.

The Lakers have the fourth pick in the 2019 draft after moving up seven slots in the lottery. They could offer that pick, along with the Bulls' No. 7, and other assets to New Orleans for Davis.

In many years, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and two high lottery picks would probably be enough to get a deal done. However, the 2019 draft class is considered weak after the trio of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. The Pelicans' willingness to listen to such a deal would hinge on their evaluation of players like Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De'Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Coby White and others who fit into that No. 4-7 window.

Teams are also typically hesitant to have so many high draft picks from the same class because of the developmental resources necessary to help them reach their full potential. The Pelicans are already banking on Williamson being their presumed franchise face of the post-Davis era; adding two more young guys from this class could be a little too rich for their liking.

From a Bulls perspective, they have a need for a long-term point guard and could be buying low on Ball. Their young core could use a defense-first ball distributor, and those are Lonzo's strengths as a player. It's about a best-case-scenario match for Lonzo as well, who would be in a major market where he's the unquestioned starter. 

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