Ever since trade rumors involving Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball first started to surface in January, there have been conflicting reports on just how willing the team is to move him. However, a pair of national NBA reporters suggested on Wednesday that the odds a Ball trade happening by Thursday’s deadline may be better than 50/50.
One of those reporters, Chris Mannix of SI.com, wrote that Ball isn’t in New Orleans’ long-term plans and is likely to be dealt this week. The other, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, discussed Ball’s situation in an appearance on the Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin Show on Wednesday morning.
“I think there’s a sense on both sides that a new home would make sense for him,” Wojnarowski said of Ball and the Pelicans (video link). “… I do think that there’s a pretty good chance he moves before Thursday’s trade deadline.”
Wojnarowski specifically identified the Bulls as a team to keep an eye on for Ball, since he could be a good fit at the point guard spot in Chicago under Billy Donovan. Woj also said that the Sixers have some interest in Ball, though they’re considered a longer shot to acquire the former No. 2 pick.
Mannix, meanwhile, didn’t specifically name Philadelphia as a team with interest in Ball, but noted that the 76ers are canvassing the league looking for backcourt help. According to Mannix, the Clippers are another team to watch, as there’s a sense they may “zero in” on Ball and Ricky Rubio in their search for a point guard upgrade. Marc Stein of The New York Times previously reported the Clippers’ interest in Ball.
The Nuggets have also been repeatedly been mentioned by league sources as a possible Ball suitor, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
Ball will be a restricted free agent this summer and may be hoping for $20MM per year on his next deal, according to a Tuesday report. A separate report indicated that the Pelicans are believed to be seeking at least a first-round pick for the point guard — that may be a problem for the Clippers, who can’t currently trade any of their first-rounders.