The New Orleans Pelicans’ top priority is to surround Zion Williamson with the right pieces in order to become a threat in the Western Conference. There will need to be decisions made about key members of the supporting cast and pending NBA restricted free-agent Lonzo Ball sits atop the list.
On the “The Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst stated how there will be plenty of teams who believe that Lonzo Ball will ‘be available’ in sign-and-trade scenarios this offseason.
“There’s plenty of teams in the league who I’ve talked to who believe that Lonzo will be available in sign-and-trade this offseason,” Windhorst said.
It has been a strong season for Ball. In 54 appearances, he is averaging 14.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists while converting 37.5% from deep on 8.4 attempts per game. He will have plenty of suitors when he reaches NBA restricted free agency.
The Pelicans will need to decide if paying a substantial contract to Lonzo Ball is the right choice when considering they recently drafted Kira Lewis Jr. Having a productive point guard on a rookie contract could go a long way in fielding a productive supporting cast around Zion Williamson that can make a push to becoming a perennial playoff team.
The Pelicans already have Brandon Ingram set to earn roughly $29.5 million next season along with veterans Eric Bledsoe ($18.1 million) and Steven Adams ($17.1 million) who combine to account for around $35.2 million. New Orleans cold look to move one of their higher cost supporting cast contributors in order to have a better optimized spending situation, especially if they were to retain Ball.
Lonzo Ball still has some questions facing him about his skill-set as he is set to receive his second NBA contract. His ability to contribute within the half-court offensively aside from spot-up still hasn’t been put to rest. It’s unclear if he’s ever going to truly turn the corner in that regard either.