New Orleans Pelicans: Is Lonzo Ball worth $20 million a season?

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans: Paying Lonzo Ball will create future financial problems

I really don’t think there is a basketball argument against re-signing Lonzo Ball unless you are part of one of the extremist groups who either worship or hate him.

I am not wearing a tin-foil hat, so to me, Lonzo Ball is a perfect piece to put around Zion Williamson.

The argument against it is purely financial, as re-signing Lonzo Ball to a max extension could put a strain on the Pels’ future finances.

They already have $30 million plus tied up in Brandon Ingram for four seasons after this one. Zion Williamson will be due for a massive raise in two more seasons that will likely pay him upwards of $30 million a season as well.

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If Lonzo is making $20 million, that is $80 million tied up in three players, which could represent nearly 75 percent of the salary cap, depending on where it is at that point.

It is projected to be around $112 million in 2021-22 and to increase at least three percent each season, but even if it goes up by the max (10 percent), those three contracts would still represent a hefty portion of it.

The Pelicans still have Steven Adams under contract for two more seasons at $17 million per, so would have to fill out the rest of their team on a tight budget. This would mean counting on young players like Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis to produce on their rookie deals, which may not happen.

The New Orleans Pelicans have a tough decision to make, as Lonzo Ball is a guy they would love to keep but it will be difficult if they want to have a deep and competitive bench. Could they find someone cheaper who can do similar things? Possibly.

If Lonzo is still a Pelican after the trade deadline then we know the Pels at least want to take a shot at re-signing him, so stay tuned.

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