Lonzo Ball Trade Rumors: Pelicans Open to Discussing Deals for PG, JJ Redick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick (4) and guard Lonzo Ball (2) celebrate a score against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first half an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans have received trade interest in veteran guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania

Charania reported the Pelicans have "shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams." However, he cautioned a trade involving either player isn't "imminent."

According to Ian Begley of SNY, one team said the Pelicans will not trade Ball without receiving a "significant" return.

Ball and the Pelicans were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract before the deadline to do so in December. His agent, Rich Paul, indicated to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski at the time that "both sides remain positive about the ability to move forward together."

Ball is due to be a restricted free agent in the offseason, while Redick will be an unrestricted free agent.

That New Orleans might move on from Ball is somewhat surprising since the 23-year-old fits with the franchise's general timeline. And the Pelicans are clearly willing to invest in their best young players after signing Brandon Ingram to a five-year, $158.3 million deal in November.

Ball is struggling to open the 2020-21 season, though. He's averaging 12.0 points, 4.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from deep. He knocked down 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts during his encouraging 2019-20 campaign.

Ball has yet to enjoy the kind of breakthrough that would put him in the upper tier at his position. Going from him to Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Kira Lewis Jr. may not be a steep drop at point guard.

Charania reported the Pelicans and Golden State Warriors talked over a swap involving Kelly Oubre Jr. Even if Ball wasn't included in those discussions, it possibly signals a desire for New Orleans to strengthen its depth on the wing, making a Ball trade one avenue through which to make that happen.

Redick, meanwhile, is a far more logical candidate to go before the March 25 deadline.

The Pelicans are second-to-last in the Western Conference at 5-10, so challenging for the playoffs may be a bridge too far. Because of that, cashing in on Redick makes sense because his contributions may not change the team's fortunes too much.

The 36-year-old is shooting only 30 percent on three-pointers, but his reputation as a long-range marksman is well earned. An organization with stronger postseason ambitions could certainly use him in the rotation.