Lonzo Ball, Bulls Agree on 4-Year, $85M Contract in Sign-and-Trade with Pelicans

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) dribbles the ball down court in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in New Orleans, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

Lonzo Ball will play for the Chicago Bulls on a four-year, $85 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Shams Charania of The Athletic noted the Bulls sent Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick to the Pelicans.

Had the Bulls simply agreed to a straight-up deal with Ball as a restricted free agent, the Pelicans could have matched the offer.

Ball averaged 14.6 points per game in 2020-21, the best mark in his four-year career after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA draft. He also improved his efficiency with a 37.8 three-point percentage, 78.1 free-throw percentage and 53.7 effective field-goal percentage all being personal bests.

The point guard also continued to fill up the stat sheet with 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.

New Orleans finished just 31-41 in a disappointing season, but the team was 2.7 points per 100 possessions better when Ball was on the court compared to off of it, per Basketball Reference. Zion Williamson was the only player on the team with a better rate among those with at least 30 appearances.

Ball hasn't quite lived up to the stardom level many expected coming out of college, but the 23-year-old has developed into a reliable player who helps in a lot of ways.

The guard will get a chance at a fresh start with his third NBA team.

Chicago has other offensive options, including Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, but Ball can be another weapon for the squad if he continues his growth as a shooter and creator.

Though the Bulls are coming off their fourth straight losing season, the talent is there to compete in the Eastern Conference.

With Ball's ability to fill his role on both ends of the court, he can help the squad take the next step in 2021-22 and beyond.