The New York Knicks will have roughly $50 million in cap space this offseason and one insider believes that president Leon Rose and the Knicks’ front office have former lottery pick Lonzo Ball on their free agency radar.
The price to acquire Ball in free agency would likely be around $20 million per year, and according to SNY Network’s Ian Begley, the Knicks could look to target Ball as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade with his current team, the New Orleans Pelicans.
Knicks & Bulls Could Get in Free Agency Bout Over Ball
Ball’s agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports got Lakers superstar LeBron James to Los Angeles, and these days it’s all about championships and the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy movie, which debuts on July 16.
With the opportunity to play in one of the NBA’s largest markets and the media capital of the world, you can just imagine the billboards with Lonzo Ball, his brother LaMelo Ball and their father, LaVar Ball, in New York’s Times Square.
Don’t jump the gun too early though, Knicks fans. Despite a slow start to his career, Lonzo Ball proved that he has the tools to be a starting point guard in this league in 2020. Ball had career highs in points (14.6), field goal percentage (.414) and three-point percentage (.378) last season. As a result, he will be on a lot of teams’ radars who are in need of a table-setter.
Like the Knicks, the Chicago Bulls are believed to be in pursuit of Ball as Bally Sports Network’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson noted in March 2021. The Bulls barely missed the playoffs last season and having a pure point guard like Ball in the backcourt with All-Star Zach LaVine could change their fortunes next season.
Ryan Arcidiacono Wants to Return to Bulls
The Bulls will have about $24 million in functional cap space this summer. That number decreases to $16.5 million if they guarantee forward Thaddeus Young‘s contract for next season. Chicago also has a team option on point guard Ryan Arcidiacono this summer, which could play a major factor in their pursuit of Ball, who plays the same position. Despite missing the playoffs, Arcidiacono is optimistic about the Bulls’ future and the direction of the team moving forward.
“It’s going to be awesome with a coach that establishes culture,” Arcidiacano said during an event with team sponsor Zenni Optical per Scoop B. “I can’t wait to see.”
Ball on the Knicks Could Pay Dividends Off the Court
New York City could be a premier destination for Ball, especially with New York set to enter the sports betting community in 2021.
Sports betting is picking up at a rapid pace in the Big Apple. New York’s biggest month this year, January, earned the state $3.5 million in revenue. That number is set to climb even higher as New York betting prepares to go live later this year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in April 2021 that will bring mobile sports betting to the state.
Multiple Teams Were in Pursuit of Ball at NBA Trade Deadline
Quietly, Ball had a career year with the Pelicans during the 2020-21 NBA season. The UCLA product averaged 14.6 points with 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals in just 31.8 minutes per game.
Many teams have salivated over his upside and Robinson reported in January that the Knicks as well as the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic also had their eyes on Ball at the NBA’s trading deadline.