Lonzo Ball

Bulls To Acquire Lonzo Ball Via Sign-And-Trade

The Bulls and point guard Lonzo Ball have agreed to a four-year, $85MM deal, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The contract will include a fourth-year player option, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Ball is a restricted free agent, but the Bulls and Pelicans will work out a sign-and-trade to get him to Chicago, Paul tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The Pelicans will receive Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, and a second-round pick from the Bulls in the sign-and-trade agreement, according to Charania (Twitter link).

Temple is a free agent, so he’ll be signed-and-traded as well. He’s getting a three-year contract with the first two years guaranteed, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who adds that the deal is expected to be worth about $5MM per year (Twitter links).

It’s a major coup for the Bulls, who have been linked to Ball for the last several months. The team reportedly discussed a trade with the Pelicans at the deadline, but couldn’t reach a deal to land Ball at the time. Now, Chicago is in position to add the former No. 2 overall pick to a starting lineup led by Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.

Ball, 23, had arguably the best season of his career in 2020/21, averaging 14.6 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG in 55 games (31.8 MPG) and improving his shooting numbers to .414/.378/.781.

His deal is right in line with the four-year deals signed by fellow point guards Fred VanVleet and Malcolm Brogdon in recent free agencies.

While Pelicans stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram expressed a desire to continue playing with Ball, the team’s front office never seemed sold on the idea of making him a long-term cornerstone. Adding Satoransky will give New Orleans some depth at the point, though the team will likely remain in the hunt for another point guard in free agency.

Free Agency Rumors: Bulls, Galloway, Bullock, Caruso, Dinwiddie, Theis

The Bulls appear to be aware that they need to upgrade their playmaking. Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports (Twitter video link) that Chicago could be looking to add Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan to their roster.

Windhorst notes that the Bulls may be able to extract Ball from the Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal, provided the Pelicans can add a point guard replacement for Ball either in the trade or elsewhere. The notion of DeRozan joining the Chicago backcourt as well is intriguing. “From what I am told, [the Bulls] are also interested in DeMar DeRozan, and are interested in pulling off a possible double sign-and-trade where they would send [Chicago’s restricted free agent power forward] Lauri Markkanen to San Antonio,” Windhorst said in an ESPN segment.

Here are more free agency rumors from around the NBA, with the official start of the signing season just moments away:

  • After averaging a career-low 4.8 PPG in a career-low 40 games as essentially a part-time player for the eventual 2021 championship runner-up Suns, Langston Galloway appears ready to move on. “I was on a team that made it to the finals, but my biggest thing is getting an opportunity to play,” Galloway told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “Being on a team like that, I learned a lot, and all I need is someone that’s going to believe in me. That’s going to go a long way, and it’s going to pay dividends for whatever team I get the chance to play for next year.”
  • Free agent Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock may have suitors offering him new deals in the range of a three-year mid-level contract, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks still hope to bring Bullock back. Berman adds that the Knicks are also rumored to have interest in free agent shooting guard Evan Fournier, and if they were to add him and Bullock, the incumbent Bullock would be demoted to the New York bench.
  • Unrestricted free agent Lakers reserve point guard Alex Caruso will speak with several clubs and is intent on picking a free agent destination expediently, writes Marks Medina of USA Today (Twitter link). Medina writes that the Lakers, who hold Caruso’s Bird rights, could look to retain him, especially since he could provide their suddenly top-heavy roster with some much-needed shooting and defense in the backcourt.
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie apparently will decide between the Pelicans, Knicks and Wizards, though the Celtics could also a candidate, reports Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link). Sources inform Schultz that the Pelicans at least are prepared to offer Dinwiddie a long-term deal that could pay $20MM or more annually. Shams Charania reports (Twitter video link) that Dinwiddie will meet with the Wizards at the start of free agency. “They have made him an ultimate target early in this free agency process,” Charania said.
  • Free agent Bulls center/power forward Daniel Theis could be a target for several clubs looking for a big man upgrade, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto lists teams like the Rockets, Spurs, Raptors, Pistons and the playoff-contending Heat as candidates for Theis this summer.

Fischer’s Latest: Bulls, Ball, Pelicans, Hornets, Lakers, Schröder, Knicks, More

While it’s possible the Bulls will sign restricted free agent point guard Lonzo Ball to an offer sheet in the four-year, $80MM range, doing so would be a risk, since the Pelicans could match that offer and leave Chicago empty-handed. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, a possible three-team deal involving the Bulls, Pelicans, and Hornets could eliminate that risk and ensure Ball lands in Chicago.

The structure – which John Hollinger of The Athletic alluded to earlier today and which has seemingly gained traction, per Fischer – would see Ball going to the Bulls, Devonte’ Graham to the Pelicans, and Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart, and draft assets to the Hornets.

Fischer cautions that this is only one idea in play and that things should become clearer once free agency opens. A sign-and-trade that only involves the Bulls and Pelicans – with Satoransky going to New Orleans – is also a possibility, he adds.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest rumor roundup:

  • The Lakers haven’t given up on the possibility of acquiring Buddy Hield from the Kings, but they don’t appear to be working closely with Dennis Schröder‘s camp on a possible sign-and-trade arrangement, per Fischer.
  • The Knicks and Wizards are still considered possibilities for Schröder, according to Fischer. The veteran point guard is also believed to be one of the Bulls‘ targets if they can’t land Ball, Fischer notes, writing that Chicago has done its homework on DeMar DeRozan and Richaun Holmes as well.
  • The Knicks are widely believed to be a frontrunner to sign Evan Fournier, perhaps for a three-year deal worth about $18MM annually, Fischer reports. Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel are also strong candidates to re-sign with New York for deals worth about $10MM per year, Fischer adds.
  • Will Barton appears likely to return to the Nuggets, according to Fischer, who says a two-year, $32MM+ contract is a real possibility.
  • Cameron Payne is considered a good bet to re-sign with the Suns for a deal in the $6MM-per-year range, says Fischer.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, DeRozan, Knicks, Graham, Jackson, More

Now considered to be favorites to land Kyle Lowry in free agency, the Heat may try to bring in DeMar DeRozan as well, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN, confirming a series of reports from the last 24 hours.

Lowry and DeRozan were backcourt partners in Toronto for many years and have remained close friends. Miami is looking at a sign-and-trade as the best way to add Lowry, and is hoping that DeRozan might be available for the mid-level exception. That represents a big pay cut, but sources tell Schultz he might be interested if it means a chance to play alongside Lowry again.

If DeRozan turns down the MLE, the Heat will focus on finding a stretch four, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). There is support among the front office for Jeff Green, according to Jackson, who mentions Bobby Portis, Rudy Gay and Otto Porter as other options.

Meanwhile, Goran Dragic is expected to be part of a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Lowry, but the Raptors are unlikely to keep him. The Mavericks will be among the teams with interest in Dragic, according to Jackson (Twitter link).

Miami would also like to bring back reserve center Dewayne Dedmon, but he may get better offers, says Jackson (Twitter link). The Heat, who only hold Non-Bird rights on Dedmon, may have to offer part of their $3.6MM biannual exception to be competitive.

There’s more as the start of free agency draws closer:

  • The Knicks have some mutual interest with DeRozan, as well as Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley also hears that Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky would be part of the potential return in a sign-and-trade if Chicago lands Pelicans RFA Lonzo Ball, while rival teams expect Duncan Robinson to re-sign with the Heat.
  • While he isn’t necessarily their Plan A or B, Cameron Payne is one of the free agent point guards on the Knicks‘ radar, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York has considered a Payne/Derrick Rose tandem at point guard for next season, Berman adds.
  • The Thunder are seen by rival executives as a possible suitor for Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Graham is a restricted free agent, so Charlotte can match any offer, but Oklahoma City has the cap flexibility necessary to put pressure on the Hornets.
  • The Pelicans, Knicks, Celtics, and Nuggets are among the teams expected to express interest in point guard Reggie Jackson, per Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • EuroLeague standout Tyler Dorsey, who previously played for Atlanta and Memphis, is positioned for a return to the NBA and is drawing interest from several teams, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Mannix’s Latest: Smart, Ball, Blazers, Simmons, Oladipo, Z. Collins

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is extension-eligible this offseason, but president of basketball operations Brad Stevens – who has coached Smart for the last several seasons – has been frustrated by his “unpredictable play,” sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com.

Two people familiar with the Celtics’ thinking tell Mannix that Smart appears more likely to be traded than extended before the start of the 2021/22 season. When Boston shopped Smart last season, the team sought multiple first-round picks, but one Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mannix suggests the guard’s value is more along the lines of one first-rounder and possibly a rotational player.

Here’s more from Mannix:

  • Although re-signing Lonzo Ball doesn’t seem to be the Pelicans‘ top priority in free agency, several rival executives expect New Orleans to match any offer Ball receives if the club strikes out on its top free agent point guard targets, writes Mannix. That would allow the Pels to avoid losing Ball for nothing and would create the option of trading him down the road.
  • The Trail Blazers haven’t given any indications at this point that they intend to deal Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, according to Mannix, who says forward Nicolas Batum is among the free agents on Portland’s radar.
  • The Sixers‘ asking price for Ben Simmons remains high. “Forget a Harden haul,” one exec in contact with the 76ers said to Mannix. “They want what Boston got for KG and Pierce.”
  • Mannix adds the Mavericks to the list of teams that are expected to show interest in point guard Dennis Schröder.
  • Teams are “increasingly wary” of Victor Oladipo‘s long-term health and multiple executives believe the two-time All-Star may go unsigned for a few months while he gets healthy following his latest quad tendon surgery, says Mannix.
  • Mannix believes the Thunder could be in the mix for Zach Collins, observing that the big man is the kind of low-risk/high-reward player that Sam Presti loves.

Free Agent Rumors: Dinwiddie, Ball, DeRozan, Pistons, Clippers

There are conflicting rumors on the possibility of the Wizards acquiring Spencer Dinwiddie via sign-and-trade, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says that one source described that scenario as “pure vapor,” while another insisted that it’s real if the Nets can dump DeAndre Jordan‘s contract in the process.

As Hollinger points out, if the Wizards expand their Russell Westbrook trade with the Lakers to include Brooklyn, they could theoretically flip Kyle Kuzma to the Nets and acquire Dinwiddie via sign-and-trade while also taking on Jordan’s contract.

However, there are other scenarios in play for both Dinwiddie and the Wizards. Both Hollinger and Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggest that the idea of the Thunder signing Dinwiddie for a deal in the two-year, $40MM range has been floating around the league, and Fischer reiterates that Dinwiddie is a viable Plan B for the Pelicans if they miss out on Kyle Lowry.

Meanwhile, both Hollinger and Fischer say the Wizards are also believed to have interest in point guard Alex Caruso, whose market could be in the neighborhood of the full mid-level exception. Hollinger adds that there has been “some hum” about the possibility of Washington having interest in Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Here are a few more rumors on some of this year’s top free agents:

  • Hollinger and Fischer identify the Bulls as the most likely team to sign Lonzo Ball to an offer sheet, likely in the four-year, $80-84MM range. However, Chicago would have to dump some salary to make room for such an offer sheet, and it’s unclear if the team is prepared to make those moves without being certain the Pelicans won’t match the offer, notes Hollinger.
  • The Celtics continue be mentioned as a possible Ball suitor, per Fischer and Sam Amick of The Atheltic. Amick also names the Mavericks as a possibility for Ball, while Hollinger dubs the Pacers a “dark horse” in the Ball sweepstakes, suggesting that a deal sending Malcolm Brogdon to the Pelicans could tempt New Orleans. Finally, Hollinger mentions an intriguing double sign-and-trade possibility that would send Lonzo to the Hornets to team up with his brother LaMelo Ball, with Devonte’ Graham going to the Pelicans.
    • Note: Hollinger has since amended this last item, suggesting that Lonzo and Graham could be involved in a double-sign-and-trade, but that Ball would likely be rerouted to a team besides Charlotte in that scenario.
  • The idea of DeMar DeRozan signing with the Heat for their mid-level exception has been a hot rumor lately, according to Hollinger. However, Fischer says DeRozan is also said to have interest from the Knicks, Pistons, and Mavericks, while Amick indicates a return to the Spurs remains “very possible.”
  • According to both Hollinger and Fischer, Kelly Olynyk has been increasingly mentioned as a target for the Pistons, who also may re-sign Cory Joseph at a lesser rate after waiving him over the weekend.
  • Outside of bringing back Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers‘ top priorities in free agency are re-signing Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum, sources tell Amick.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Lamb, Brogdon, Ball, FAs

Plenty of trade speculation has swirled around the Pacers heading into the 2021 offseason, but a league source tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required) that a “seismic” change to Indiana’s roster is unlikely.

One player whose name has popped up frequently in trade rumors during the last year or two is Myles Turner, and teams haven’t slowed their efforts to land the rim-protecting big man. According to Michael, the Knicks have gotten more aggressive lately in their pursuit of Turner — they aren’t the only club trying to trade for Turner, but they appear to be making the strongest push as of late, Michael says.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • With lottery pick Chris Duarte expected to step into a role on the wing, the Pacers are interested in moving Jeremy Lamb, reports Michael. Lamb, who was limited to 36 games last season due to injuries, is on a $10.5MM expiring contract.
  • The Pacers have had discussions about whether Malcolm Brogdon is the answer at point guard, according to Michael, who writes that the team also talked about possibly pursuing Lonzo Ball. However, Ball doesn’t seem to be a serious option for Indiana at this point, Michael adds.
  • T.J. McConnell and Doug McDermott both have interest in returning to the Pacers, but McConnell wants security (ie. a multiyear deal) and McDermott may get too pricey for the team. As he’s previously reported, Michael notes that McConnell is more likely than McDermott to re-sign with the Pacers.
  • Michael points to Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Will Barton, and Garrett Temple as some free agents who may appeal to Indiana.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Draft Night, Point Guards, Gibson

July 31 marked the trigger date for Julius Randle‘s contract guarantee, so the Knicks now owe him the full $19.8MM for next season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. There was no suspense about whether New York would be willing to pay Randle that much in the wake of a career season that saw him win the Most Improved Player award and earn second-team All-NBA honors.

The real intrigue this offseason involves a four-year, $106MM+ extension that Randle is eligible to receive. The Knicks have plenty of incentive to sign him at that figure, as Randle could potentially make a lot more next summer as an unrestricted free agent, particularly if he puts together another All-NBA season. New York will have his Bird rights if that happens and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.

Randle joined the Knicks two years ago on a three-year, $63MM contract that carried just a $4MM guarantee for 2021/22. His game blossomed in New York, especially under new coach Tom Thibodeau, as he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night while leading the team to the No. 4 seed in the East.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks’ decision to trade the 19th pick in this year’s draft to the Hornets for a heavily protected future selection was done to free up another $2.4MM for free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, citing an NBA executive who has talked to team president Leon Rose. New York never planned to use both of its first-round picks Thursday night and was happy to get Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride after trading down.
  • Even if the Knicks can’t lure top targets Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry in free agency, they will have plenty of options at point guard, Berman adds. With more than $50MM in cap space, New York can outbid rival teams for Spencer DinwiddieCameron Payne, Dennis Schroder or Reggie Jackson. Restricted free agent Lonzo Ball remains a possibility, but the Knicks saw him as a better fit in February than they do now, sources tell Berman. Re-signing Derrick Rose, a favorite of Thibodeau, remains on the table, although the front office is debating whether to make a long-term offer to Rose, who will turn 33 in October. The Bulls may get into the bidding for the Chicago native.
  • Saturday’s decision to waive backup center Norvel Pelle increases the chances that Taj Gibson will be back on the roster next season, Berman states in a separate story. A source told Berman the Knicks would consider re-signing Pelle at some point during the season if injuries leave them needing help in the middle.

Free Agency Rumors: Lowry, Dragic, Ball, Lakers, DeRozan, McGee

Miami is a legitimate option for Raptors guard Kyle Lowry in free agency, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. A source tells Reynolds that the Heat “have his attention and have had it for a while.”

Lowry will be among the top point guards on the market when free agency begins Monday, with the Pelicans, Mavericks and Sixers all likely to be heavily involved. Toronto may also make a strong bid to hang onto Lowry, who has been with the organization since 2012.

There are plenty of rumors on the eve of free agency:

  • Many teams are expected to be interested in veteran guard Goran Dragic if the Heat turn down their $19.4MM team option and make him a free agent, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Charania doesn’t identify any of the potential suitors, but says they include “several NBA title and postseason contenders.” Miami has a deadline of 5:00pm Eastern Time today to reach a decision on Dragic, along with a $15MM option on Andre Iguodala.
  • William Guillory and John Hollinger of The Athletic break down sign-and-trade possibilities for the Pelicans involving Lonzo Ball. The Bulls, Pacers, Clippers, Celtics and Wizards are all mentioned as potential sign-and-trade partners.
  • Dwight Howard could return to the Lakers to provide help at center, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times suggests in a free agent roundtable on both L.A. teams. Howard helped the Lakers win a title in 2020 before signing with the Sixers last offseason. Turner names Patty Mills, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony, Jeff Green, Iguodala, and Dragic as other possible targets. The Clippers may pursue DeMar DeRozan if he’s willing to take a pay cut, Andrew Greif states in the same piece.
  • JaVale McGee would “definitely” consider returning to the Nuggets, stating that a chance to win will be his priority in free agency, as Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post details.

Pelicans Extend Qualifying Offers To Ball, Hart

The Pelicans have extended qualifying offers to Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, making them restricted free agents this summer, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Ball’s qualifying offer is worth about $14.36MM, while Hart’s is approximately $5.24MM. Those are one-year contract offers that could theoretically be accepted, but Ball and Hart will likely earn more lucrative multiyear deals in free agency.

As long as the Pelicans keep those qualifying offers on the table, they’ll have the ability to match any offer sheet signed by Ball or Hart, and would have the leverage necessary to negotiate a sign-and-trade.

It remains unclear whether either Ball or Hart will return to New Orleans. The Pelicans’ agreement to trade Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams creates some cap flexibility for a bigger free agent acquisition, and the team is said to be eyeing Kyle Lowry and other point guards, including Spencer Dinwiddie.

Ball is unlikely to return if the Pelicans land one of those targets, since he’d probably need to be renounced to clear the necessary cap space. But if New Orleans strikes out on the free agent market, it will be interesting to see how the club handles Ball’s situation. He has been linked to the Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Pacers, and Knicks, among other teams.

The Pelicans could potentially clear enough space to land a top free agent point guard without renouncing Hart, so he looks – for now – like a decent bet to return to the team.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.