Hwe go again. New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo Ball is likely going to be a hot commodity this coming offseason, and the Los Angeles Clippers are going to be probable suitors. Ball will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season after not signing an extension, and after rumors swirled around him being moved at the trade deadline a few months back, the talk about him leaving New Orleans this summer is picking up again.
In a recent article for The Athletic, Sam Amick and John Hollinger broke down the possible options for Ball heading into free agency this summer, with the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls chief among the teams likely to pursue the point guard. The Clippers are also list of potential landing spots after being one of the teams who expressed interest in acquiring Ball at the trade deadline.
Pelicans May Be Very Willing to Let Ball Walk
“The Pelicans will have to wait and see what the market bears for Ball before deciding whether to match. Chicago, Atlanta, Golden State, the Clippers and the Knicks are teams that showed interest in the past and will likely do so again,” Sam Amick of The Athletic said about the situation.
Amick also broke down why Ball could likely be available for the taking if the Clippers want him bad enough:
Why would Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin let him get away, and why was he so widely known to be available heading into the deadline? Because the potential price point here might be too rich for their blood. 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 Has Been Shaky of Late — Will His Stock Fall?
After two disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Ball showed signs of improvement last year, and has stepped up his game in a number of ways this season. He’s shooting better than ever from the floor (54.5 percent), from downtown (37.8 percent) and his 14.4 points a game is a career-high. He has shown improvements in other areas, as well.
In the past, Ball had issues finishing, and he didn’t take near enough foul shots. While both of those things still remain issues, he has cleaned up his shooting at the free-throw line immensely. The Pelicans point guard is hitting 78.6 percent of his shots from the line this year, a vast improvement from the 56.6 he shot last year and the 41.7 percent he shot the year before that.
That said, he has been trudging through the muck recently, going through a bad stretch in late April where he scored six points or less in four of eight games. He did just go off for a season-high 33 points against the Timberwolves, though, so don’t expect his stock to fall too far.
Will the Clips still be interested in adding him? Much will depend on how far L.A. goes in the postseason this year. If another early exit is in the works, they’ll more likely try to add him than not. Stay tuned.