Any moves that the Chicago Bulls front office personnel decide to make at the trade deadline should likely avoid trading for PG Lonzo Ball.
A player that can’t stay out of the trade rumor market over the course of the last two years is the former UCLA Bruins point guard, and the often injured former Los Angeles Lakers second overall pick, Lonzo Ball. There was a point when the Chicago Bulls looked to be a possible landing spot for Ball last year. Is it worth it for the Bulls to look into trading for him again this season?
This season with the New Orleans Pelicans, David Griffin and head coach Monty Williams got mixed results out of the haul of young players they got from that Lakers trade deal. Lonzo is on the worse end of the spectrum in terms of production among former Lakers on the Pelicans roster this season.
While the Pelicans are seeing former Duke Blue Devils forward Brandon Ingram enjoy a breakout season as he enters a contract year, and shooting guard Josh Hart contribute off the bench, Lonzo is floundering on offense again. The knocks against Lonzo are usually on his offensive game, mainly his shooting, and those problems are persisting again.
Lonzo is matching his exact career mark in terms of field goal percentage this season, at 38.0. He is shooting a bit better from downtown this season, though. His three-point shooting percentage sits around 34 percent , which is an improved mark compared to his last two years.
However, those slight improvements don’t make it seem like he’s on the brink of a true breakthrough to become a two-way star point guard in the NBA. He seems to be inching toward a decent role player off the bench that can also be a defensive stopper at point guard.
His player efficiency rating of 11.0 and goose egg in win shares aren’t encouraging signs either. But this is a bad Pelicans team that Lonzo is playing on, and there’s still some untapped talent left on the table if he lands on yet another team early in his career.
On the podcast “The Hoop Collective”, hosted by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the idea of the Pelicans making Lonzo available via traded for the 2020 deadline was floated. That sits among a number of other trade rumors the Pelicans have at the moment, including possibly dishing out star veteran point guard Jrue Holiday.
The Pelicans probably want to build their franchise around the rookie that still has yet to debut, forward Zion Williamson, and Ingram. Those could be two multi-time All-Stars in the making, but this season isn’t going well for them in the Western Conference.
Moreover, a question worth asking for any team that would look into the idea of trading for Lonzo should be what they could send in return. The Bulls might have to part ways with future draft assets or a bigger piece of this young core. Lonzo’s trad value is declining compared to where it was last season, but he still commands a decent return.
If the Pelicans were willing to part ways with Lonzo for a return that featured something like small forward Chandler Hutchison and a future second round pick, then it might be worth the risk. Or the Bulls could work something bigger into the mix, including 6-foot-4 point guard Kris Dunn.
All the risks that the Bulls would be taking to piece together a trade to land one of the Ball brothers just seems like too much for it to be worth the return. The star potential that Lonzo once looked to bring to the table in the NBA is starting to diminish. But it does look like his name will continue to hang around trade rumors a bit longer.