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Chicago Bulls don’t expect Lonzo Ball to ever play basketball again

By Andrew Buller-Russ,


Back in 2021, after the Chicago Bulls landed Lonzo Ball via a sign-and-trade, the future looked bright for the franchise that once enjoyed an enormous amount of success in the 1990s, winning six NBA championships.

What would soon follow Ball’s career couldn’t be seen coming. The son of LaVar Ball would only suit up for 35 games in 2021-22, with his final appearance coming on Jan. 14, 2022. Ball has not stepped foot on an NBA court since.

Just days after his last appearance, Ball revealed he had torn a meniscus in his left knee, requiring surgery, where he was only supposed to miss six-to-eight weeks. His expected recovery time would come and go with no updates. Later, in April, the Bulls announced he would have to sit out the rest of the season after suffering through pain in his rehab process.

It has been a total of 499 days since Ball played in an NBA game after missing the entire 2023 season. One would think, with so much time to recover, Ball would be ready for action starting next season, but sources close to the Bulls aren’t so sure.

Dan Bernstein’s Organizations Win Championships podcast revealed that the Bulls “privately don’t think that it’s likely Lonzo Ball will ever play again.” He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, who then traded him to the Bulls, and Ball is set to have a $20.4 million cap hit on Chicago’s payroll next season.

Ball reportedly had a third knee surgery in March, but other reports have continued to suggest doctors just don’t know exactly what’s wrong with the 25-year-old’s knee. If this is the last we’ve seen from Ball, it ends a once-promising career for the former No. 2 overall pick out of UCLA.

Related: Top 2023 NBA free agents: Best 100 available with positional breakdowns

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