Pelicans' Lonzo Ball Reportedly Won't Be Traded Before Deadline Despite Interest

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans' Lonzo Ball plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Despite speculation that he could be on the move, Lonzo Ball will finish this season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Pelicans weren't trading Ball.

New Orleans' decision to keep Ball came after Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported J.J. Redick is on the verge of being dealt to the Dallas Mavericks

The Pelicans acquired Ball in July 2019 from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the deal for Anthony Davis. He's been expected to be a key piece for New Orleans as the franchise started building around a young core that also includes Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Jaxson Hayes. 

Things didn't break right for the Pelicans. Williamson made a positive impact with an average of 22.5 points in 24 games during his rookie campaign. They had a 13-game losing streak from Nov. 23-Dec. 17 and missed the playoffs after going 2-6 during the season restart. 

Ball continued to be an inconsistent offensive player, though he did show improvement on that side of the ball. The 23-year-old only shot 40.3 percent overall, but he's knocked down a respectable 37.5 percent from behind the arc. 

The Pelicans left open the possibility they didn't consider Ball a part of their long-term future when the two sides didn't agree to a long-term contract extension before the start of this season. He will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer.  

Defense has always been a strength for Ball, who had the numbers to support him being an All-Defensive Player in 2018-19 with the Lakers. He ultimately didn't make it onto the squad, perhaps in part because he missed 35 games with injuries. 

He also remains a good distributor with seven assists per game in 2019-20 and can run an offense that has shooters around him. 

Ball is averaging a career-high 14.2 points per game this season and is shooting a career-high 38.5 percent from three-point range. He's also averaging 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds. 

With New Orleans in the midst of another disappointing season with a nucleus led by Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, there seemed the possibility that Ball could get moved.  

New Orleans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin isn't afraid to make bold moves if he believes it will improve his team. Nothing materialized before the trade deadline, leaving open the possibility that he could re-sign with the Pelicans this offseason.