Rumor: Lonzo Ball-Lauri Markkanen swap a possibility for Bulls, Pelicans
The Chicago Bulls and New Orleans still appear to be discussing a swap involving Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen and Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.
Adrian Wojnarowski said during ESPN’s Trade Deadline Special the Bulls are “one team to watch” for Ball. However, he added the two teams could revisit talks in the offseason given both Ball and Markkanen are restricted free agents:
On the Woj & Lowe: Trade Deadline Special, @wojespn says the Chicago #Bulls are the “one team to watch” for Lonzo Ball. He mentions it could be a swap with Lauri Markkanen. @ZachLowe_NBA suggested one team could end up with draft compensation and it should be the #Pelicans
— Greg Williams (@GregWilliams28) March 24, 2021
Woj on trade special says motivation & framework is there for a Ball/Lauri trade. But also notes that both teams can wait until offseason to make decision on both & potentially sign-and-trades or making offers to RFAs.
— Matt Peck (@Bulls_Peck) March 24, 2021
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report previously reported “early discussions” first involved a Ball-for-Markkanen swap. That remains a possibility, per Wojnarowski.
However, Fischer reported the Pels were “not as motivated” to move Ball ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Lonzo Ball’s stats this season are at career-best levels, so they might be more inclined to pry draft compensation from Chicago. That might be a sticking point for Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.
One thing is for sure, however: the Bulls appear open to moving Markkanen. They are also actively searching for potential upgrades both in the backcourt and frontcourt.
There’s a faction of the Chicago front office that feels adding one piece such as DeRozan could push the Bulls firmly into the postseason, sources said.
Markkanen could very well be the piece going to San Antonio in that one as a stretch 4 who could open up the floor for the Spurs’ playmaking guards.
It is a bit harder to see where Markkanen fits in New Orleans, especially if the Pels still hope to give Jaxson Hayes more playing time.
Still, the Pelicans and Bulls are considering a number of options before deadline day.