The Golden State Warriors didn’t end up pulling off the much-rumored trade for Lonzo Ball at the recently passed trade deadline, but one insider believes the team could have a second chance to take a swing at him this offseason.
There were a number of reports connecting the New Orleans Pelicans guard to Golden State leading up to the deadline, but the Warriors opted for a relatively quiet approach and stayed away from making any big deals. But with Klay Thompson set to return next season and the Warriors hoping to jump back into title contention, there is belief that Ball could once again become a target.
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Ball Likely to Leave Big Easy
As The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported, there is widespread belief that Ball won’t be coming back to New Orleans once he hits free agency this summer. Despite his excellent court vision and the significant improvements he has made in his shooting, Ball is likely too expensive for the Pelicans to keep right now, he wrote. Amick noted that the team is committed to paying Steven Adams a combined $36 million for the next two seasons and another $18.1 million to Eric Bledsoe, with more spending needed ahead.
With Brandon Ingram already on a max deal through 2025 and Williamson bound for a max extension of his own in the 2022 offseason, the prospect of paying Ball on a long-term deal around $20 million annually gets a bit problematic — especially considering the big money that’s already on the Pelicans’ books beyond the young core.
Ball was reportedly on the trade block at the deadline, though the Pelicans never came to a deal. Amick noted that the Warriors — along with the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, and New York Knicks — had shown interest in Ball in the past and could likely take a look again when he hits the open market.
Warriors Turned Down Ball Before
The Warriors may have passed on a chance to snag Ball before he hit free agency. After the deadline had passed, former Warriors big man Andrew Bogut said that the team had a chance to land Ball in a trade that would have shipped wing Kelly Oubre Jr. to New Orleans, but didn’t pull the trigger.
“This is an interesting one because I got some word from behind the scenes there. … I have it on good authority they had on offer actually for Lonzo Ball and I think a throw-in pick for Oubre and the Warriors turned it down, funnily enough,” Bogut said on his “Rogue Bogues” podcast. “But I thought that was pretty good deal to shed some salary and get a pick back.”
But the Warriors may have seen Oubre as too important to part with at the deadline. Golden State reportedly turned down other trade offers seeking Oubre, not wanting to give up on their playoff hopes for this season. As Marc Stein of the New York Times reported, the Brooklyn Nets offered the injured Spencer Dinwiddie for Oubre, but Golden State passed.
“While numerous Oubre trade scenarios came up, Golden State was not going to trade him for someone who couldn’t help the team in the short term,” he reported.