NBA Rumors: Pelicans Expected to Move on From Lonzo Ball
When the 2021 NBA trade deadline was approaching, a few names were consistently being thrown out as potential trade candidates. One of them happened to be New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.
As we know now, the Pelicans never struck a deal to move on from Ball. Instead, they kept him on board to finish out the rather disappointing season by the Pels. As the Pelicans look to begin a new regime as they've already fired head coach Stan Van Gundy after one season, they're also expected to move on from Ball once and for all.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Pelicans are "unlikely to match a significant offer sheet on Ball." Considering Ball is viewed as one of the NBA's top free agents this summer, he's expected to get a lot of interest, which will drive his price up and more than likely leave the Pelicans looking to replace him rather than retain him.
This past season, Ball started in a career-high of 55 games for the Pelicans. He averaged over 30 minutes on the court and put up career highs across the board offensively. Ball was the best NBA version of himself this past season, averaging 14.6 points per game while draining 41.4-percent of his shots from the field and 37.8-percent of his three-pointers.
Per Charania, there are two teams that are likely to get in on the Ball sweepstakes this summer. The Chicago Bulls, who have had an interest in Ball leading up to the trade deadline last year, and the Los Angeles Clippers, who certainly have a need for a reliable ball-handler to play alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Also, according to Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be interested in a potential reunion with their former draft pick. Ball, who was selected second overall by the Lakers in 2017 and later traded to New Orleans, could garner attention from the team he started his career with once again this offseason.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.