Lonzo Ball’s days with the New Orleans Pelicans appear to be numbered.
Despite him currently having a career-year, a report emerged this week that suggests he will be playing elsewhere come 2022.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, New Orleans will be hesitant to invest more than $20 million annually in Ball come this summer.
“Because of luxury-tax concerns, the feeling around the league is the Pelicans may pass on matching any offer over $20 million per season with rookie lottery-pick point guard Kira Lewis and combo guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the fold,” he wrote.
Ball is virtually a lock to command more than $20 million on the market.
Who could step up to the plate and offer him that sort of cash?
The New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, it would appear.
“Though the Knicks made a very light push for Ball at the March 25 trade deadline, the Bulls did a lot more of the talking with Pelicans general manager David Griffin,” Berman continued.
“If Ball were to leave, Chicago would be the Knicks’ top competitor, according to sources.”
New York projects to have the most cap space in the NBA in 2021, but Ball has previously expressed interest in joining the Bulls.
Just give LaMelo Rookie of the Year now. https://t.co/jyuEfUi2x4
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 8, 2021
The youngster’s blunt reaction to his squad’s failed attempts to deal him speaks for itself. He knows he’s done in New Orleans after this year.
Currently, Ball is averaging 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 31 minutes per game. Beyond that, he is also among the league’s top 15 in three-pointers made per outing with 3.1 at a 38 percent clip. Between his impressive offense and strong defense, he would be a huge value-add for any team that lands him.
Ball’s father has previously expressed strong irritation with his son’s role on the Pelicans, so it seems all but a foregone conclusion that the 23-year-old will be wearing a different uniform come next season.