As expected, Lonzo Ball picked up his $21.4 million player option for next season

Chicago Bulls Media Day
Chicago Bulls Media Day

Lonzo Ball, who has missed the last two seasons recovering from multiple knee surgeries, made the expected move and picked up his $21.5 million contract option with the Chicago Bulls for next season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This would be the final year of the four-year, $80 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans that brought Ball to Chicago. He played 35 games for the Bulls in the 2021-22 season, then mid-season underwent what was supposed to be a clean-up arthroscopic surgery on his left knee that would have him back for the playoffs. Instead, the pain in his knee never disappeared, and he has not stepped back on an NBA court since.

He's had two more knee surgeries since, the third of those in March 2023 — a cartilage replacement where doctors grow cartilage outside the body and put it in the knee. That's not a surgery any player has come back from.

"I definitely plan on playing again," Ball, 25, told reporters this past season. "After surgery three, I feel like it's going well so far, no setbacks. So for me, it's just keep my head up, just keep doing the work."

Ball hopes to be ready for training camp next fall, but there are no guarantees his knee will let the former No. 2 pick of the Lakers return to an NBA court again.