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Windhorst: Pelicans Could Make Lonzo Ball Available If Active at Trade Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 14: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 14, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/Getty Images

With the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline less than two months away, the New Orleans Pelicans may consider shopping Lonzo Ball around the league, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t Lonzo Wire's Christian Rivas). 

Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast the Pelicans could turn into a seller at the deadline as they sit 14th in the Western Conference at 7-22.

The New York Times' Marc Stein reported Tuesday that the general feeling outside of New Orleans was that the Pelicans considered Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram as untouchable in trades. Stein added the team "indeed remains reluctant" to move JJ Redick but that Jrue Holiday could be available for the right price.

According to Windhorst, the Pelicans "in some conversations with teams recently have indicated that they may have to start a rebuild."

That seems somewhat obvious given New Orleans' position in the standings, but the front office in the offseason shaped the roster with the idea of contending for the playoffs this season. The Pelicans signed Redick to a two-year, $26.5 million deal and acquired Derrick Favors from the Utah Jazz.

With Williamson still recovering from a torn meniscus, looking toward the future and cashing in on some of the team's veteran players would make sense for general manager David Griffin.

At 22, Ball is only three years older than Williamson, so he'd fit into a long-term timeline. However, the third-year point guard has struggled in his new home.

He's averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond the arc. His 114.2 defensive rating is on pace to be a career worst as well, per NBA.com

Throw in his injury issues and Ball is basically the same player he was in his two years with the Los Angeles Lakers. His lack of improvement comes as a stark contrast to teammate Brandon Ingram, who's flourishing with the Pelicans.

Based on how his year is unfolding, the Pelicans might have reservations about Ball as their point guard of the future.

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