Multiple Bulls rumors pegged the New Orleans Pelicans point guard and restricted free agent Lonzo Ball to land in Chicago entering the offseason. Other contenders were involved, such as the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks (among others), at different points along the way to potentially sign Lonzo.
Yet, we all know now that Lonzo landed with the Bulls as the first big signing for Arturas Karnisovas of the free agency negotiation window. It was lightning fast that the Bulls had this sign-and-trade deal announced with the Pelicans on almost the second of the free agency negotiation window.
The Bulls biggest need entering the offseason lied at the point guard position. And that was the first need that Karnisovas and the Bulls addressed in that first week of free agency. It made a lot of sense for all parties involved.
It does appear, though, that the Bulls didn’t have as much competition to land Lonzo as initially anticipated. The Knicks seemed like the top competitor with the Bulls to sign Lonzo, and with good reason. But instead, the Knicks waited it out and nabbed the former Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets veteran point guard Kemba Walker.
Any competing Bulls rumors for Lonzo Ball didn’t pan out for the Knicks
In a way, Kemba fell into the Knicks’ lap after he was bought out by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
These seems like a good situation for both teams. Kemba was a better fit with the Knicks than most other potential landing spots after the Thunder bought him out, including the Bulls. And Lonzo is essentially exactly what the Bulls needed at the point guard position this summer.
According to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post on Aug. 17, the Knicks did let Lonzo go to Chicago “without a fuss” and the team was much more inclined to wait it out and sign someone like Kemba. Granted, the way that Kemba landed with the Knicks was a move that was hard to see happening in the way it did entering the summer.
The Knicks reportedly were more interested in Lonzo back around trade deadline time in March. The interest the Knicks had in signing or trading for Lonzo waned as the season moved along. And the team found it to be a better option to sign a veteran that could make more of an immediate impact.
The Bulls wound up signing Lonzo on a four-year contract worth a total of just north of $80 million. AK and the Bulls had to give up veteran shooting guard Garrett Temple, combo guard Tomas Satoransky, and a second-round draft pick to get Lonzo in this sign-and-trade from the Pelicans.