Central Notes: Ball, Westbrook, Turner, Mobley

The Bulls have become more optimistic about the condition of Lonzo Ball‘s injured left knee, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago said on the Bulls Talk podcast, though he cautioned that it’s still a “fluid situation.” Johnson added that it’s still impossible to determine when Ball will be ready to play, but the last two times he has checked with the team, the reports have been more positive than negative.

“I’m not saying that means he’s out there opening night. I’m not saying he’s playing all 82,” Johnson said. “What I’m saying is the skepticism that was earlier in the offseason has moved a little bit toward the optimism side.”

Ball had surgery in January for a torn meniscus and was originally expected to return before the end of the season. A bone bruise interfered with his rehab process, and there’s still not a definite timetable for him with training camp less than four weeks away.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers should aggressively pursue a Russell Westbrook trade with the Lakers, argues Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. Doyel doesn’t expect Westbrook to become a star again in Indiana, but he says taking on the $47MM expiring contract would be worth it to get L.A.’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. Doyel also points to Myles Turner and Buddy Hield as the best return the Lakers are likely to get for Westbrook. Doyel adds that the value of the two first-rounders is that they can be moved in other deals to help build around Tyrese Haliburton.
  • Turner, who’s headed for free agency in 2023, is expected to want more than $20MM a year in his next contract, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. That price will affect his trade value as the Pacers look for potential deals.
  • Cavaliers associate head coach Greg Buckner calls Evan Mobley “H.O.F.” and believes he can develop into one of the best players in league history (audio link from Mat Issa of Basketball News). “Evan’s a worker, by all means,” Buckner said. “I think Evan, when it’s all said and done, will be a top-20 player [all-time], if he stays healthy.”
View Comments (21)