Pelicans Unlikely To Match Significant Offer For Lonzo Ball?

The Pelicans are unlikely to match a significant offer sheet for Lonzo Ball in restricted free agency this summer, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Charania doesn’t clarify what would constitute a “significant” offer, but Ball’s market could be in the range of the four-year, $85MM deals signed by point guards Malcolm Brogdon and Fred VanVleet in recent years. Ball would be doing well to land a contract that matches or exceeds those deals.

The 23-year-old, who began his career with the Lakers, had perhaps his best NBA season in 2020/21, establishing new career highs in PPG (14.6), FG% (.414), and 3PT% (.378). He also chipped in 5.7 APG and 4.8 RPG in 55 games (31.8 MPG).

Star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have both spoken in favor of the Pelicans re-signing Ball, and the team will have the ability to match any offer sheet extended by a rival suitor. But it’s unclear just how committed New Orleans is to the former No. 2 overall pick, especially given the club’s cap situation.

Substantial investments in Ball and fellow restricted free agent Josh Hart would likely push the Pelicans into tax territory unless the club cuts costs by trading away a contract like Steven Adams‘ or Eric Bledsoe‘s. The team has never paid the luxury tax before. And while that doesn’t necessarily mean ownership wouldn’t sign off on a tax bill going forward, it would be a tough sell for a roster that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2018.

The Bulls and Clippers are among the teams expected to express interest in Ball, sources tell Charania. The Knicks have also been mentioned as a possible suitor, though Ian Begley of has reported there are mixed opinions on the point guard among New York’s decision-makers.

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