Lonzo Ball Trade Rumors: Talks for Pelicans PG 'Have Fizzled for Now'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) advances the ball up court in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Trade talks around the NBA for New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball have reportedly "fizzled," according to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer. 

But a Ball trade isn't out of the question.

Per that report, "trading the 23-year-old will remain a possibility, especially since the Pelicans are expected to be active ahead of the trade deadline. Executives say they could be buyers or sellers, depending on what direction the trade winds blow."

Ball, 23, is averaging 14.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three. He remains a solid defender and a threat in transition, but the Pelicans appear to be building around Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and a wealth of draft capital in future years. 

That, alongside Ball's pending restricted free agency, makes him a logical trade chip ahead of the deadline. Plus, the Pelicans don't have a shortage of guards, with Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart, JJ Redick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. also on the roster.

There's also the question of whether a player like Ball fits naturally long-term alongside Ingram and Williamson, who both like to operate with the ball in their hands. Ball has improved as a perimeter catch-and-shoot option, but he isn't currently a player likely to create gravity with his jumper. And he'll never be a player who strikes fear into opposing defenders as a three-level scorer off the dribble.

Add it all up, and it's easy to see why New Orleans would entertain trade talks. And Ball would make plenty of sense for a number of teams in need of perimeter playmaking and defense. Pairing him with a combo guard capable of running the point in the halfcourt offense would make a lot of sense.  

There have been rumors, for instance, that the New York Knicks are keeping an eye on Ball, either as a trade target or as a player they could sign to an offer sheet come the summer. Other contenders might come calling as well. Ball is definitely a player worth monitoring ahead of this season's trade deadline, even if talks are currently quiet.