Most Likely Trade That Would Land Lonzo Ball in Chicago: Report

Getty Lonzo Ball

If you’re hoping and praying for Lonzo Ball to land with the Chicago Bulls, there are three likely paths for the 23-year-old to the Windy City.

Bulls insider Stephen Noh shared the scenarios and identified the most likely route for Ball. Here is a hint: if you’re a Bulls fan who loves Tomas Satoransky, you won’t like this option.

The Three Scenarios

According to Noh, the Bulls will acquire Ball with a sign-and-trade for Lauri Markkanen (which he called preferred but unlikely).

He also mentioned the possibility of stretching Al-Farouq Aminu and renouncing rights to valuable veteran forward Thaddeus Young. This is the most undesirable option to most Bulls fans, and probably to Zach LaVine as well, because he loves Young.

Considering the Bulls are doing everything they can to re-sign LaVine, it is unlikely they will cut loose his favorite teammate.

The best option would be renouncing Satoransky and stretching Aminu. The move wouldn’t cost the Bulls an overly valuable piece of their roster.

Why The Most Likely Option is the Best

Here is how Noh describes the option.

First, they’d have to move on from their free agents consisting of Markkanen, Theis, Temple, Denzel Valentine, Ryan Arcidiacono, Cris Felicio, Javonte Green, Adam Mokoka, and Devon Dotson. Note that they could still bring any of these guys back, but it would have to be through minimum deals or the $4.9 million room exception. That would effectively mean that higher-end guys like Markkanen and Theis would almost definitely be gone, but some of those other lesser-paid players could easily be brought back. Releasing the cap holds of those free agents would get the Bulls to about $12 million in cap space. That’s still a ways short of the $25 million goal that we set, so there is work yet to be done.

This where using the flexibility of Aminu’s contract would come in handy. Stretching the seldom-used veteran would add $6 million for the Bulls to use toward signing Ball. However, going that route would saddle Chicago with an additional $3.4 million every season through the 2023-24 campaign. Still, the Bulls will have cleared $18 million in cap space with these moves.

Noh added the Satoransky component.

You may have heard that the Bulls would need to move on from either Thad Young or Tomas Satoransky to make this final cap finagling maneuver work, and hopefully now you can see why. Young makes $14.1 million with a $6 million guarantee and Satoransky is at $10 million with a $5 million guarantee. The Bulls could eat the $5 million guarantee on Satoransky and call it day, which would be extremely easy to do. That would get them to $23 million. They could also stretch that guarantee, getting them up to $25.7 million in space. That should be enough for Ball.

Noh also added the Bulls could find a trade partner for Satoransky, which is realistic considering he is a capable veteran ballhandler who can play three positions. Noh even mentions the possibility of the Bulls throwing in a second-round pick to entice a team to take on Satoransky’s salary, which would clear as much as $27 million. That amount is enough for Ball and perhaps another veteran. It might even be enough to facilitate the re-signing of Theis, which should be a major priority for the defensively challenged Bulls.

If Chicago wants a young, up-and-coming point guard to come in and assist LaVine, they going to have to get creative and aggressive.

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