The Chicago Bulls are looking for a point guard to complete their rebuild, but without a shot at Ja Morant, the top PG prospect in the draft, they may have to get creative.
It’s easy to see why any team would be interested in the Los Angeles Lakers’ second-year guard on talent alone, but of course Ball comes with more baggage than about any player in the league. Lonzo’s father, LaVar, is the league’s most outspoken father and foremost gadfly.
When the Lakers were trying to trade for Anthony Davis during the regular season, LaVar vowed to not let his son play in New Orleans and tried to steer Lonzo to the Phoenix Suns. If the Bulls got involved in serious trade talks, it’s hard to imagine LaVar not inserting himself again.
Will the Lakers make Lonzo available for trade?
Ever since LeBron James announced his intention of playing for the Lakers, Ball has been the center of the rumor mill. James generally hasn’t had the patience to wait on younger players to develop when his teams can trade for All-Stars now.
From Kawhi Leonard to Davis, the Lakers have been involved in many a trade rumor over the past year. However, it’s hard to imagine the team trading their former No. 2 overall pick without an established star, and the Bulls don’t have any to speak of.
One way for the Bulls to land Ball would be to help facilitate a three-team deal with the Lakers that would likely involve Davis or Washington’s Bradley Beal. New Orleans wasn’t intrigued by the Lakers’ package of young players, but maybe they would change their tune if the Bulls included an early draft pick or young prospect.
How good of a fit would the Bulls be?
Any Bulls trade would likely include the No. 7 pick in the draft, which the Bulls settled for last week after finishing with the league’s fourth-worst record. Whoever owns the pick could target another young point guard like Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland or North Carolina’s Coby White or look at a bevy of forwards.
Chicago also has a few intriguing forwards, but recent lottery picks Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. are too important to trade in a risky trade like this.
Ball remains very unproven; his points, assists and rebounds per game all fell in his sophomore season, and he has missed at least 30 games in both campaigns. Still, he would be a good fit in Chicago. As Johnson mentioned in his Tribune story, Ball’s pass-first mentality and defensive prowess fit well with the rest of the team.
Ball’s 6-foot-6 size would pair well next to 6-5 leading scorer Zach LaVine, and Ball wouldn’t need to carry much of an offensive load. LaVine, Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. combined to average 59.9 points per game, and the former UCLA star would likely bring more out of them than incumbent starter Kris Dunn has to date.
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