The Golden State Warriors could have some moves to make at the upcoming trade deadline, but one rumored target is reportedly off-limits.
A number of reports had indicated that the Warriors could be interested in New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, who had an uncertain future in the Big Easy as the team was wavering on whether to make him a building block for the future. But the sentiment is reportedly changing after a stretch of stellar play for Ball, which could put him out of reach for the Warriors.
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Warriors Had Been Linked to Ball
A number of insiders pegged Ball as a target for the Warriors ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury News speculated that Ball and Nicolo Melli could be major pieces in a trade for Kelly Oubre, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also speculated that Oubre could be part of a trade for Ball.
“There’s also been rumors about a Kelly Oubre-Lonzo Ball trade,” he said last month on the Brian Windhorst & the Hoop Collective podcast. “I mean, that’s not secret. That’s sort of been out there. I see it from Golden State’s perspective. It’s been interesting to see if that develops.”
It appears unlikely that anything would develop now, however. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report noted that Ball is now unlikely to be moved ahead of the trade deadline, with his recent stretch of stellar play convincing the Pelicans to keep him around.
“Pelicans officials have been impressed with how Ball responded to the trade chatter and cite his three-game break during New Orleans’ six-game road trip in mid-January as the springboard for his recent success,” he wrote, noting that Ball is now seen as the team’s third-best player.
Lonzo Ball shooting
Since February: 46/47/86%
He’s averaging 14.8 PPG on 43/40/78% shooting this season, all career-highs. pic.twitter.com/GeXmUcMAEM
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 2, 2021
Ball’s strong play may have cemented his place in the team’s future. As CBS Sports noted, he has connected on 45.9 percent of three-pointers since the start of February, the best percentage for any player attempting eight or more per game.
Golden State Could Make Other Moves
Even if Ball is staying put, there are reports that the Warriors could pursue other moves in the coming weeks. The team has been hovering on the edge of the playoff picture, but is within striking distance of the top half of the playoff bracket in the tightly packed Western Conference and could be a buyer at the deadline.
Reports last month indicated that the Dallas Mavericks expressed interest in a trade sending Kristaps Porzingis to the Bay Area, though it wasn’t clear just how much interest the Warriors may have had or whether the talks were serious.
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 23, 2021
Others have pegged the Warriors as a top contender to land Bradley Beal. In his Locked on Warriors podcast, Mercury News writer Wes Goldberg said that Golden State would be able to put together a package of players and draft picks that no other team could match, though the deal would likely hinge on the Warriors being able to send the first-round draft pick acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in last year’s D’Angelo Russell trade. That pick is top-three protected, however, and the Timberwolves appear likely to fall in the bottom three as they are firmly entrenched in last place in the NBA.