O’Connor’s Latest: Ball, Rockets, Dieng, A. Johnson

While Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball was a subject of frequent trade speculation earlier in the season, trade talks involving the former No. 2 overall pick have “fizzled” for the time being, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A report last week also suggested that a Ball deal is becoming less likely as the trade deadline nears.

Still, that doesn’t mean that Ball will be untouchable before March 25. As O’Connor writes, New Orleans will have to assess how high it’s willing to go to retain the fourth-year point guard in restricted free agency this summer. If they think there’s a chance a rival team will give him an offer sheet they won’t want to match, the Pelicans have to at least consider getting something in return for Ball now.

Executives around the NBA still aren’t sure whether the Pelicans will end up as buyers or sellers, according to O’Connor, so they’ll be a team worth keeping a close eye on at the start of the second half.

Here are a few more items of interest from O’Connor:

  • While the Rockets are getting calls about veterans like Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker, multiple league sources believe that young wing Sterling Brown will garner interest and is another candidate to be moved, per O’Connor.
  • Multiple front office executives believe Grizzlies big man Gorgui Dieng is a trade candidate to watch, says O’Connor. His $17.3MM cap hit may be a challenge to match for some teams, but his contract is expiring and he’s a solid role player.
  • Raptors 905 forward Alize Johnson, who has played well in the G League bubble, is receiving interest from the Raptors, Magic, Rockets, Spurs, and Suns for a possible NBA contract, a league source tells The Ringer.
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