Lonzo Ball Rumors: Execs Think Pelicans PG Could Be Available in Sign-and-TradeApril 17, 2021
New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball may be available via sign-and-trade this offseason, per Brian Windhorst and Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
Ball, who will be a restricted free agent, was also reportedly the subject of talks before this season's March 25 trade deadline:
"Ball was involved in trade discussions with several teams before last month's trade deadline, with the LA Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks among the teams showing interest, sources said. Some executives came away from those talks with the belief that Ball might be available in a sign-and-trade in the offseason as a restricted free agent."
The 23-year-old Ball, who is in his second season with the Pels, has averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range, both career-best marks.
The four-year NBA veteran currently helps form a talented trio alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. However, the 25-30 Pelicans are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. At 11th in the Western Conference, they are two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the 10th and final spot in the play-in tournament.
The Pelicans are committed to Ingram long-term after signing the ex-Los Angeles Lakers forward through 2025. Williamson's rookie contract runs through 2023, but New Orleans surely wants the superstar around for much longer.
As good as Ball as been this season, the Pels may be best off parting ways with the point guard given the resources they'll have tied up in their top two players, especially with the current roster sitting at five games under .500.
Ball recently missed four games with left hip flexor soreness but returned to the lineup Friday against the Washington Wizards. He averaged 18.0 points and 7.7 assists per game in the three matchups prior to missing time.