Lonzo Ball could be on his way out of New Orleans. Why? Apparently, the New Orleans Pelicans and Ball have not reached on a rookie extension. The Pelicans are not set on giving Ball any long term deal until he has further proved his worth to the team. Now, the Lonzo Ball trade rumors are flying around the NBA rumor mill.
Ball has averaged a career 10.8 points, six rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game in his career. He is a career 38.9% shooter from the field and 33.7% from distance. However, Pelicans fans know Ball’s specialty comes as a facilitator, ranking 13th in assists last season with a 7.0 average per game.
His improvements have come heavily in his playing since last year. Coming into the league, Ball shot 36% from the field and 30.5% from behind the arc. Last season, he shot 40.3% from the field and a career-best 37.5% from distance. On top of that, he averaged nearly 12 points per game and seven assists per game with the Pelicans starting five.
This season, things have gotten worse for Lonzo Ball through 11 games. While averaging a career-high 12.1 points per game, Ball is shooting 38.8% from the field and an atrocious 28.6% from three-point land. His assist percentage is down to 20.3% from 29.1% last season. Ball’s box plus/minus is at a career-worst -3.5 points.
While it’s still early in the season, Ball still has time to improve and show his worth as a starting point guard for the Pelicans. Plus, the Pelicans have shooters to make up for Lonzo’s ineffectiveness. But, his decline as a facilitator has hurt his value. Check out which teams could be interested in trading for him before the trade deadline in March.
New York Knicks
What they could offer: The New York Knicks have a lot of players they can offer in this trade. Once they complete a pick swap with Dallas this offseason, they could offer their own next six years of draft picks. The Knicks could offer guys like Alec Burks (cannot be traded until Feb 18) who is shooting 52% from three currently. Kevin Knox could be an interesting trade piece, considering Zion Williamson has no help at his position.
The Knicks should be one of the front runners if Ball is put on the block. The Knicks have more than enough draft capital to hand over to the Pelicans and the personnel to complete the transaction. Considering the Knicks are stuck with starting Elfrid Payton, who shot 20% from three, 57% from the charity stripe, and averaged 10 points in 27.7 minutes per game. While they would love to get rid of him, it does not seem likely the Pelicans would take him since they had him in 2018.
What they could offer: While the Dallas Mavericks could have offered Seth Curry to the Pelicans for Ball, they traded him away for Josh Richardson. There are a few amounts of players the Mavericks could offer like Dwight Powell or Dorian Finney-Smith. Anything higher and the Mavericks would want more in return. The Mavericks do not have their first-round pick next season, but they will have the rest of their future picks after the Knicks get their possible protected pick in 2023.
The Mavericks are in the bottom four teams currently for team assists per game. Last season, they ranked 15th in that category. Ball could help facilitate the shooters that the Mavericks have, and alleviate the guard pressure on Luka Dončić. The Pelicans could try to steal some young players from the Mavericks while banking on their future picks to be valuable.
Los Angeles Clippers
What they could offer: The Los Angeles Clippers could only offer a few players that would make sense roster wise. Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac fit the bill. The Clippers are not working with much draft capital, with their next six drafts being dominated by the Thunder.
The Clippers could use a better point guard that could run their offense smoothly. They would lose the perimeter defender in Patrick Beverley and an up and coming big man in Ivica Zubac, but if Lonzo improves it could be a good option. The Pelicans could add the perimeter defender they lost in Jrue Holiday with Beverley. It does not seem likely with the Clippers being drained of draft capital, but they have the personnel to do it.
The difficulty with Lonzo Ball in this trade is that teams could bank on going after him this summer. He becomes a restricted free agent this summer, and teams could match offer sheets in the future for Ball.
Ball’s shooting ability is a scary risk to take for teams. His shooting numbers have declined so far this season after he had improved them in the last three years. While that could be destined to change, Ball is not a starting point guard on many teams.
Other teams that could be interested include the Chicago Bulls or the Charlotte Hornets, in an attempt to pair the two Ball brothers together. While these teams are rumored to be interested in a possible ball trade, the Knicks seem like the most likely to secure Ball in the future.