Knicks Rumors: Lonzo Ball Will 'Heavily' Consider NY as Restricted Free Agent

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) passes in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in New Orleans, Friday, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The New York Knicks reportedly will be "heavily on Lonzo Ball's radar as a restricted free agent" this summer, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post

Per that report, the Knicks are looking to bolster the point guard position ahead of the March 25 trade deadline and "while Houston's combo guard Victor Oladipo is very available, Pelicans pass-first point guard Ball is higher on Leon Rose's list."

Ball would be an excellent addition for the Knicks. The New Orleans Pelicans man is having a career year, averaging a career-high 14.2 points per game to go along with 5.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He's shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three, both career bests as well. 

His playmaking would fill a major need in New York, while his stout defense would fit well into the culture Tom Thibodeau has built with the upstart Knicks, who currently sit at 20-21. 

What is unclear, however, is whether the Pelicans will make him available in a trade. Ball will be a restricted free agent this offseason and the Pelicans are building around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. With Ball's fit next to those two players less than perfect, New Orleans may not want to splash major cash to keep Ball this summer. 

The Knicks aren't devoid of options at point guard, though Derrick Rose (health and safety protocols) and Elfrid Payton (hamstring strain) are currently out of action. While Immanuel Quickley is having a superb rookie season, he's more a threat as a scorer (12.8 PPG) than a playmaker (2.4 APG). 

Ball would fill a major need, fit the team stylistically and make sense as a younger player to build around, joining the likes of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin and Quickley as key pillars going forward. 

For a Knicks team trying to make a playoff push this season while building for the long term, Ball is a worthy target, either before the trade deadline or over the summer.