The Bulls have strong interest in trading for Lonzo Ball and here’s how Chicago can swing a deal for the talented Pelicans guard.
The Pelicans have decided that Lonzo Ball isn’t worth the contract he’ll be looking for once he hits restricted free agency. The Bulls clearly think otherwise. That’s why they’re being linked strongly with a move for the talented guard.
The question that needs to be answered now is what Chicago needs to do if they want to get a deal done. They likely aren’t the only team interested in acquiring Ball so it’s in their best interest to conclude negotiations quickly. A protracted conversation with the Pelicans would give other teams a chance to swoop in and get the deal done.
The Bulls aren’t blessed with a great deal of young talent that can help satisfy New Orleans’ desire to continue building around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Instead, they’ll need to rely on a wily veteran to be the centerpiece of the deal.
What can the Pelicans receive in a trade for Lonzo Ball?
The player, of course, is veteran big man Thaddeus Young. He’s quietly having an outstanding season for the Bulls at the power forward position. His well-rounded play has him averaging over 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists per contest for a frisky Chicago squad.
At 32 years of age he isn’t going to help Zion turn the Pelicans into contenders for the next decade, but he can give them a big boost in their quest to make the postseason as soon as possible. Adding him to the mix in New Orleans would give Stan Van Gundy a lot more versatility up front. More specifically, Young can play alongside Williamson as a small-ball five against certain opponents. Eliminating Jaxson Hayes for the lineup would rid the Pelicans of their weakest rotation player.
The Pelicans are going to want more than just Young in exchange for Ball. For all his faults, Ball’s game is still improving at the tender age of 23. The nearly 10-year age difference between the two will require Chicago to put more into the deal.
2022 second-round pick
The easy solution is for the Bulls to offer some draft compensation as a sweetener. A second-round pick feels like a fair compromise between both sides. The Bulls should make sure they don’t give up a potential high first-round pick, but parting with a 2022 second to seal this transaction would be a worthwhile sacrifice.
This potential trade isn’t going to enact a seismic power shift in the NBA, but it will help New Orleans solidify their squad immediately. Adding Young to their intriguing mix might be enough o help the Pelicans climb into the top-8 to improve their odds of making it into the Best-of-7 portion of this year’s playoffs.
For the Bulls, it’s all about adding another high-end talent to their young corps. Ball’s size will be a huge boon to Chicago’s backcourt defense. His ability to be a secondary playmaker and primary initiator of the fastbreak should help unlock the Bulls’ offense.
If the deal goes down in this manner, it should be a win for both teams. Now the race is on to see if the Bulls can push the Ball trade over the line.