Who Wants Lonzo Ball? Examining Possible Trade Destinations
It is no secret that the New Orleans Pelicans are open to trading point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball was drafted second by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft. Ball was hyped by fans and the team, as he was supposed to be the face of a younger Lakers squad. However, that did not last as LeBron James joined the team in 2018. The 16-time All-Star became the focus as Ball’s role on the team started to diminish. This became more evident when Los Angles signed veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
The young point guard was traded to the Pelicans in 2019. He was part of the package deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. The Pelicans drafted Zion Williamson in the 2019 draft with the first pick. Ball and Williamson formed a pretty dynamic duo, however, it looks like Ball could be traded again. The 23-year-old point guard has a good basketball-IQ and play style. The one thing that is missing from his game is true shooting ability. Ball is a crafty ball handler and an even more gifted passer, but he is still improving his jump shot and free throw percentage.
Last season, Ball shot just 40% from the field and 37% from the three-point range. His productivity has not been great nor has it improved. Last season, he averaged 11.8 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Compared to his rookie season when he averaged 10 points, seven assists and nearly seven rebounds, the young guard hasn’t made many strides in recent days. Although he isn’t improving as quickly as some would perhaps like to see, that does not mean that he isn’t valuable to a team.
The Warriors are looking for another player that has a high basketball-IQ. Golden State is currently adjusting to new players that could work under coach Steve Kerr. Currently, the Warriors are not moving the ball around enough to win games. Simply put, they aren’t passing enough. The Warriors are currently 14th in passes per game, a huge decline from last season, where they were in the top five for passes per game. The passing that the 23-year-old would bring would bolster Golden State’s strength along with its rebounding ability.
The Suns are a good team that needs the point guard. Phoenix currently has Chris Paul as their point guard and Devin Booker at shooting guard. One thing that is important to note is that Paul is currently 35 years old, so the team will need a younger point guard to replace him. Trading for Ball would allow him to learn under Paul who is an effective leader and floor general. Doing so would help the young Suns team in the long-run, who are on the rise in the Western Conference.
The Hornets are another young team that is currently learning to play with one another. While they are not a rising team, it would be a perfect destination for Ball to develop with other young talents. The team is aided by All-Star Gordon Hayward, who can provide leadership and advice. Additionally, the Hornets have Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo Ball. Having the two brothers would create a team that would regularly distribute the ball around. The downside would be the lack of scoring between the siblings.
Toronto is another team that is interested in acquiring Lonzo. The team is led by veteran All-Star Kyle Lowry, who like Paul, can help develop and teach the younger point guard. The Raptors are not as strong as they were last season, but they are still a capable young team in the East. Toronto has been able to develop and strengthen its young talent. Examples are the rise of Pascal Siakam who went from the D-League to an All-Star.
The Bulls are the final team that is interested in acquiring the services of Ball. Chicago could use the younger point guard in the event that Zach LaVine was to leave the team in free agency. The Bulls are currently rebuilding and developing talent. The team selected Coby White in the 2020 NBA Draft, with the idea of pairing him with LaVine but it has not worked out well. The two have not been able to produce wins together and the Bulls’ perimeter defense isn’t great. Chicago’s defense would exponentially improve by trading for Ball prior to the NBA Trade Deadline on March 25, 2021.