3 teams that needed to sign Lonzo Ball and FAILED
The Bulls have youngster Coby White but clearly is not the true franchise point guard they need. White is more of a combo guard who is also a streaky scorer rather than a playmaker and facilitator like Lonzo.
The Bulls went all-in for Lonzo as they are in win-now mode after a trade deadline deal with the Orlando Magic last season, giving up Wendell Carter Jr.and a top 10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft for Nikola Vucevic.
Lonzo, the former no. 2 overall pick, has had an up-and-down career after struggling on the bright lights with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first few seasons in the league. He was then included on a package deal alongside Brandon Ingram to the New Orleans Pelicans for superstar Anthony Davis.
Before signing with the Bulls, Lonzo had a lot of suitors when he entered free agency this offseason. These teams might have regretted not pushing hard enough to sign the young floor general as his career is certainly trending upward.
Here are three teams that needed to sign Lonzo Ball but failed to do so.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans had every right to match any offers made for Lonzo since he was their restricted free agent. He dramatically resurrected his career with the Pelicans as he has shown versatility, confidence, determination, and some serious improvement every year. He averaged 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists while shooting 41.4 percent from the field last season.
He has often been criticized for not knocking down three-pointers. But last season, Lonzo silenced the critics as he shot a career-high 37.8 percent from behind the arc. He established himself as a bonafide three-point threat. We saw how good the Pelicans were when he was on the floor last season.
The 23-year-old was also a fit to the Pelicans’ timeline as they have the 23-year-old Brandon Ingram and 21- year-old Zion locked in for the future.
Lonzo was the perfect partner next to budding star Zion because he can play off the ball as the former Duke standout sometimes handles the rock. Lonzo has a very high basketball IQ as he can run the offense, make the right decisions, facilitate, make plays, and most importantly, throw lobs to Zion.
It will be interesting to see how the Pelicans offense will run next season without their floor general.
New York Knicks
The Knicks were interested in trading for Lonzo in last season’s trade deadline, per Danny Abriano of SNY. The Knicks may regret not trading for/signing Lonzo because they are in dire need of a franchise point guard. Derrick Rose fits the bill for their needs but he’s heading towards the twilight of his career. Kemba Walker would be a nice acquisition but he’s quite older than Lonzo.
Lonzo would have fitted the Knicks’ timeline as well as they have RJ Barrett and Julius Randle at the helm. Lonzo would have been a great fit alongside these two budding stars because he won’t take away the touches as he can play off the ball.
He would have been a nice addition to the Knicks since he is a lockdown defender as well, something that coach Tom Thibodeau wants. With his 6’6″ frame, Lonzo is a big point guard who is able to defend opposing guards and sometimes wings.
The Knicks lacked someone who can create something for the team. His ability to fire passes into the paint and make magic happen in fast-break scenarios remains as lethal as ever, and the Pelicans’ offense ran through him when he was on the floor. The flashy Lonzo Ball could have been what the Knicks needed now and for the future.
One of the reasons why the Pelicans cut some salary is because they wanted to pair Zion with All-Star veteran Kyle Lowry. But Lowry ultimately ended up with the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to the Raptors.
At this point in their careers, Lonzo would’ve been a better choice than Dragic simply because of their age. Dragic is already 35 years old and it doesn’t make sense for him and the Raptors to be with each other.
The Raptors have Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., and OG Anunoby. Lonzo would have been a great addition to the rebuilding squad. His playmaking would have benefitted his up-and-coming teammates.
Lonzo could have helped the young Raptors on both ends of the floor with his savvy passing, floor spacing, and hard-nosed defense.