The NBA trade deadline is only a few short days away. This is when teams make some of their last-minute roster moves to improve before heading into the NBA playoff. The right move can make a difference this year and well beyond. You shouldn’t be surprised to see Lonzo Ball has dominated the rumors in the last days of the NBA trade deadline. The mention of his name evokes strong reactions from Knicks fans on both sides. The former 2nd overall draft pick is possibly changing teams for the 3rd time in only his fourth season.
14.2 pts 4.2 reb 5.6 ast 42.5% fg 38.5% 3pt
Lonzo Ball has been the hot topic lately in the NBA for reasons other than trades. He has had the New Orleans and Zion Williamson looking great lately. That is a far cry from how his season began. He began the season performing poorly. This was after a bad stint in the NBA Bubble where he shot only 30% from the field and worse from 3. He has since played the best basketball of his career. As a result, the New Orleans Pelicans have worked themselves back into the play-in picture.
Even though he ended the season poor the Pelicans did begin to discuss an extension with Ball last summer. Talks broke off when the two sides were too far apart on contract numbers. Early this season when Lonzo was struggling, the Pelicans were getting early production from some of their younger players. At that time it seemed David Griffin would be willing to deal the point guard for the right pick.
What changed? Since Kendrick Perkins, the ESPN host called out Lonzo Ball on January 29th of this year, he’s made a big turnaround. At that point of the season, New Orleans had a disappointing 6-10 record and Lonzo was just benched early in a Pelican win. Since that performance Lonzo has been one of the best shooting point guards in the league. You would think a trade for Lonzo Ball would be less likely now that he has been a huge part of their resurgence. Lonzo’s success may have priced him out of a future with the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, there are some concerns regarding Lonzo. Despite having some great stretches in his career, he has never had a great season wire to wire. You have to worry about his consistency. His February and March have been remarkable. But that follows a December and January that he’d probably want you to forget. He has a tendency to have those valleys every season. It seems at some point in every season people question his value. Players who are looking to land these larger contracts are usually more polished and consistent. That has to factor into the Knicks’ decision making process.
Lavar Ball has recently chimed in on the future of his son Lonzo Ball. On an ESPN radio show, he expressed his displeasure with the direction of the New Orleans offense. He even said Lonzo didn’t like New Orleans. The often outspoken Lavar is known for causing controversy. He could be trying to push his son out of the Big Easy and into a larger market.
LaVar Ball tells @VeniceMase & @LAIreland that he wants to see Lonzo traded out of New Orleans 👀
Full interview on 710 AM ESPN ⬇️
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) March 18, 2021
Lonzo ball is a restricted free agent this summer. This means the team that controls his contract has the opportunity to match any contract offered. With a few teams seriously interested, his price tag could go north of $20M per season. If Lonzo was interested in signing one of those offers there is a good chance a team would add difficult clauses. Adding clauses such as a trade kicker and high upfront payments to begin the season to discourage the Pelicans from matching.
One of the teams who are thought to have strong interest besides the Knicks is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are over the cap and cannot trade any 1st round picks. So they would need to be creative when it comes to making a trade package and involve other teams.
The Clippers, with a well-chronicled need for a playmaking upgrade, are exploring trade routes to acquiring New Orleans' Lonzo Ball before next Thursday's NBA trade deadline, league sources say.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 19, 2021
What would it take for the Knicks to make a trade? Here is the version of a trade I think would be possible. Due to high demand and improved play the cost can be much more than what his assumed cost was earlier in the season. Other teams have started to show interest. Kevin O’Connor recently revealed that the Bulls made an offer. The response to that offer may give us an idea of what the price tag for Lonzo Ball may be in the coming days.
Report: The Bulls have offered Tomas Satoransky and 2nd-Round Picks for Lonzo Ball, but NOLA is looking for “at least one good 1st-Round Pick or a young player,” via @KevinOConnorNBA. pic.twitter.com/9Qo5sMyMrd
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 21, 2021
The Knicks are a solidly placed playoff team right now. Our record and the record of the Dallas Mavericks will not likely produce a high pick. If the Pelicans are seeking a “good” first-round pick, the Knicks are going to have to sweeten the trade with a better player or an additional interesting pick. Here is the trade package I think the Knicks can offer.
New Orleans trades Lonzo Ball for a prospect and a pick:
Kevin Knox + 2021 Knicks 1st (top 10 protected)
What is your opinion on Lonzo Ball? Do you think he will be a Knicks by Thursday’s trade deadline?
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