Now that we are officially into the NBA offseason it’s time to start sifting through rumors. One player has been tied to the Bulls since last season’s trade deadline. That player is Pelican point guard Lonzo Ball. With the Bulls in need of an upgrade at the point guard position and Ball becoming a free agent it was inevitable that he would be tied to the Bulls. His tie to the Bulls became even more prominent this week when ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski discussed the Bulls and Ball.
"I think in a perfect world for both Lonzo Ball and the Chicago Bulls, they end up together."
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 25, 2021
Speaking on the Woj & Lowe NBA Special he said the two would be a perfect fit. Ball is certainly a player who is looking to play for a big market team. The Bulls will certainly fulfill that need for him. With a need at the point guard position Lonzo certainly fills the need from the Bulls standpoint. But the real question is how well would he fit in on this Bulls team?
This team fits Lonzo
When you look at Lonzo Ball over his four-year NBA career you can’t help but like the way he plays the game. He seems to be a factor in each level of the game. He’s coming off his best season in the NBA averaging 14.6 PPG, 41.4 %FG, 4.8 RPG, & 5.7 APG. He’s a career 6.4 assist per game point guard which is something the Bulls really need.
The Bulls lacked a distributor at the point guard position last season. Guard Coby White had a few great games where the ball moved around well but he wasn’t consistent. White is a great shooter and has a role on this Bulls team but being the floor general didn’t seem to be right for him. Ball immediately fills the team’s need for facilitating on offense. He also can continue to pitch in 12-14 PPG as the Bulls have enough offense surrounding him. This situation is ideal as he won’t be expected to be the team’s savior.
This is similar to most other rumors with the Bulls. We likely won’t know if the team is really gunning for him until a contract is actually offered. The Bulls front office keeps things quiet until they strike. However, at this point, there are a couple of factors to still be determined. With the recent trade made by the New Orleans Pelicans, the Bulls may have some competition on their hands when it comes to Ball.
The Pelicans have cleared cap space
In the biggest trade of the offseason thus far the Pelicans made some moves yesterday to clear up cap space.
BREAKING: Memphis is finalizing a trade to send Jonas Valanciunas and 2021 Nos. 17 and 51 picks to New Orleans for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, 2021 picks Nos. 10 and 40 and a protected 2022 first-round pick via the Lakers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 26, 2021
By moving on from big contracts in Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams the Pelicans gave themselves wiggle room for the offseason. What they are going to do with that extra money is a mystery. The money they now can play with allows them to match likely any offer made for Lonzo or use that money on a free agent.
New Orleans creates salary cap space for August that allows them to either match an offer sheet on Lonzo Ball, or have the cap space to pursue a significant free agent point guard, including Kyle Lowry and others. Pels liked Valanciunas as floor spacer at center over Adams, too. https://t.co/3YRyBTEg1S
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 26, 2021
Prior to this move, the assumption was the Pelicans were going to let Lonzo walk since they didn’t have the space to match a high offer sheet. Now that is no longer the case. The Pelicans could go a few different directions with this but if the Bulls want Lonzo they will certainly have to pay the price. Lonzo is expected to get offers in the $19-$20 million per year range. If the Bulls think he’s the answer at point guard then they know what they will have to pay. This price tag isn’t new as this is what was expected from the beginning.
The Bulls need to make decisions
The Bulls still have quite a few decisions to make. They have multiple players on their roster that they need to either move on from or re-sign. There are a lot of financial decisions that will make up the structure of this team.
As KC mentions in here, Bulls have some notable deadlines approaching this weekend:
–Saturday, July 31: Arcidiacono's team option ($3 mil), Lauri's qualifying offer
–Sunday, Aug 1: Thad and Sato's partial guarantees.
Waiving Sato would clear $5 mil from books, Thad ~$8 mil https://t.co/SiEgv3HCkY
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) July 26, 2021
Depending on what the Bulls do over the next week or so will give a little more insight on who they are targeting in free agency or the trade market. Ball is a name that will be tied to this team until he officially signs somewhere. While his price tag is high he might be exactly what this Bulls team needs to get themselves over the edge.