Lonzo Ball reportedly picks up player option worth over $21 million. What it means for the Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, Ill. - Lonzo Ball wants to be in Chicago and picked up his option to be with the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, according to reports.

According to ESPN, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has picked up the $21.4 million player option on his contract for the 2024-2025 season. This was part of his four-year, $80 million deal he signed with the Bulls in 2021.

This is the latest turn in Ball's recovery as he continues to recover his knee. Since the end of the 2021-2022 season, Ball has undergone three knee procedures.

This includes a cartilage transplant in his left knee on March 16, 2023.

For the Bulls, this is just a continued indication they want Ball to be a part of their plans for the 2024-2025 season, even as he's recovering from his knee injuries.

Because of this recovery, Ball has missed the last two and a half NBA seasons. Although, the Bulls are expecting Ball to be a part of their near future.

"We’re just going to wait and see his progression the next couple of months," Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas said on April 20 in a season-ending press conference. "He’s progressing well. Everything is looking with no setbacks. So we’ll see where he’s at in a couple of months."

However, it remains to be seen if Ball will ever be at 100 percent again after undergoing a cartilage transplant. He's aiming to be the first-ever NBA player to do so.

This comes after Karnisovas delivered his evaluation of the Bulls where he said openly changes needed to be made to the team's roster.

Whatever changes happen, Ball will be expected to be a part of it. It's fair to say paying a player $21.4 million means they're expected to play a major part of whatever's next.

When healthy, Ball is an elite perimeter defender, accurate 3-point shooter and pinpoint facilitator. These are all things the Bulls sorely missed last season.

But, it's still a big "if' when considering if Ball will be that player again.

The Bulls did not entertain the idea of moving on from Ball in the season-ending press conference. The Bulls do have to decide what to do with a roster that needs to see some sort of change.

Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White should be back next season. They both took strides forward this past season. Same goes for Alex Caruso, who was arguably the best defender the Bulls have.

But, what about the likes of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams? Those futures need to be decided and will be this offseason.

Either way, Ball picking up his player option was expected. Especially considering what the Bulls brass has said about him recently and in the past.

"He’s improving," Karnisovas said on April 20. "We’ll see where he is at next couple of months. There's no setbacks, so we’ll see where he's at in terms of on-court and the basketball side. So we’ll figure it out."