NBA Trade Deadline: What Knicks trade for Lonzo Ball could look like

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ian Begley
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball dribbles ball vs Miami Heat
New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball dribbles ball vs Miami Heat

A few notes on the Knicks and Lonzo Ball:

Let’s start with some background: Shortly after the draft, LaVar Ball went on Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” Show to talk about LaMelo Ball, Lonzo Ball and his family (I’d pay a heavy cover charge to get into Club Shay Shay).

LaVar Ball explained why he mentioned Detroit Pistons and Knicks as landing spots for LaMelo Ball.

“I was talking about those two teams because they was going to try to find a way to get all my boys,” LaVar Ball said of LaMelo, Lonzo and LiAngelo.

Now, you can dismiss this as an off-handed comment from an interview that took place four months ago.

But I think it’s worth pointing out because it shows that LaVar Ball was under the impression that New York had interest in Lonzo Ball.

That brings us to this week.

Several teams, including the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets, have interest in trading for Ball, SNY sources confirm. ESPN reported that Philadelphia also has interest in trading for Ball.

What about the Knicks?

There are people in the organization who have seen Ball as a strong addition, as noted on The Putback. But one of the questions about Ball among Knicks’ decision-makers has been: Is he the point guard of the future for us?

I don’t know where the Knicks have landed on that question. The answers are probably varied. But people familiar with the situation said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, New York was still keeping an eye on the price that it would take to trade for Ball.

Given that, it seems reasonable to think that if the Knicks are comfortable with the price to trade for Ball, they would make an offer to New Orleans.

But, as noted earlier this week, the Knicks have been wary of disrupting the chemistry established by the current team. Trading for Ball would, presumably, disrupt that chemistry because it would lead to a shakeup in the backcourt and would result in one or two current Knicks being moved.

Also, Ball is a restricted free agent this summer. According to the New York Post, the Knicks will be on Ball’s radar in free agency.

So, if the Knicks are interested in Ball, they could acquire him in free agency.

New York will have the cap space to make Ball a competitive offer. The club also has the draft capital to send New Orleans a first-round pick if that’s what the club is seeking in a Ball trade.

This is an assumption on my part, but you’d think that the Knicks wouldn’t have an issue putting players like Elfrid Payton, Kevin Knox or Frank Ntilikina in a trade for Ball.

One other note on New Orleans and the Knicks: In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Pelicans spoke to several teams about a trade package that would send Eric Bledsoe and a first-round pick to a team with interest, per SNY sources. The Knicks were among the teams New Orleans spoke with, sources say. It is unknown if those talks were connected in any way to Lonzo Ball.

With regard to Bledsoe, New York has the cap space to take on his contract. The veteran guard is under contract for $18.1 million next season; he has $3.9 million of a $19.3 million salary guaranteed in 2022-23 and will be an unrestricted free agent the following season.

That doesn’t seem like a contract New York would want to take on. But this could tie into a potential Lonzo Ball deal.

According to a report from Forbes’ Mike Mazzeo, the Knicks had been looking to trade Bledsoe to a third team in order to land Lonzo Ball.

SNY hasn’t independently confirmed that report.

The Knicks, as previously noted, are also open to smaller deals (they talked to the Orlando Magic about Evan Fournier earlier this month) and are open to being a third team to facilitate a trade between two other teams. In this scenario, New York would use its $15 million in cap space to absorb an undesirable contract and would acquire another asset (player/draft pick) in the deal.

Denver’s interest in Ball was first reported by Bleacher Report. I don’t know who first reported Chicago’s interest in Ball. If anyone knows, let me know. I’d be happy to credit them.