The Los Angeles Lakers could look to a familiar face to find LeBron James and Anthony Davis some help heading into next season. With Lonzo Ball set to be a restricted free agent, we can expect the Lakers to be mentioned as a possible landing spot. Hoops Hype’s Yossi Gozlan laid out a path for the Lakers to land Ball in free agency and admitted it is more plausible than he originally perceived.
“There actually is a way they could make it fit,” Gozlan explained on the Hoops Hype podcast. “I don’t know if they have enough value to make it work trade-wise. I don’t know if you include Kuzma, their pick in this draft and maybe you sign-and-trade Schroder. I don’t know maybe that could get you to the value for a guy like him [Ball]. But the whole point is, I ran some projections, there are definitely some pathways where they could pay Lonzo. Let’s say, I think he’s going to be looking for around $20 million annually. There’s a way that you can fit that in, get hard-capped.”
The Pelicans Can Match Any Offer Ball Receives
The Lakers would need the Pelicans’ help in pulling off a sign-and-trade given the team does not have cap space. It is also worth emphasizing that Ball’s restricted free-agent status gives the Pelicans an opportunity to match any offer. The emergence of Zion Williamson in the “point-Zion” role could make the Pelicans less willing to give Ball a lucrative deal.
“You’ll probably have to not have Harrell return,” Gozlan added. “You’ll probably have to get off Kuzma’s salary, and this is accounting for bringing back Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker who I see getting probably close to the full mid-level. It’s very interesting to see if the Lakers choose to go that path. They were already dealing with a big hard cap crunch last offseason by signing Harrell to the full mid-level then they were going through this interesting budget crunch trying to fit the rest of the roster in the hard cap. This year would be a little more ambitious if they try to do that. But if you’re the Lakers, if there is one thing that this playoff series showed is that maybe this bench isn’t as reliable as they hoped. And if you can bring in a major impact player like Lonzo and you might sacrifice some of these other bench players, it might be worth it and figure out the rest of the roster after.”
Ball Is Represented by Klutch Sports
As Heavy detailed earlier this season, Ball is a more appealing option at point guard than Dennis Schroder. Ball’s game has evolved since his initial stint with the Lakers, and the point guard is now a much better shooter. Ball averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 37.8% from the three-point line.
The challenge is the Lakers need help to make a Ball signing happen, while the team has Schroder’s Bird Rights which allows them to go over the salary cap to re-sign the point guard. One thing working in the Lakers’ favor is Ball is represented by Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul. We know Ball maintains a close relationship with James, and it will be worth watching to see if the Lakers make an aggressive run at bringing the point guard back to Los Angeles this offseason.