New Orleans Pelicans: Is Lonzo Ball a sign-and-trade candidate?

Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The biggest offseason question for the New Orleans Pelicans will be what to do with Lonzo Ball.

Lonzo has been an interesting case for the Pelicans this season, as he is shooting the ball better than ever and has defended well, but has also missed a lot of games and has had some issues with consistency.

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I’ve been hot and cold on Lonzo Ball this season, as one minute he looks like the perfect player to complement Zion Williamson and at others looks like a guy whose production could be replaced at a much lower cost.

I explored three of the options the New Orleans Pelicans have when it comes to Lonzo Ball, but one that is looking slightly more realistic is the sign-and-trade.

The SnT is talked about a lot but it doesn’t happen that often, as usually there isn’t motivation for both sides to do it.

Could a sign-and-trade work with Lonzo Ball?

New Orleans Pelicans: A sign and trade of Lonzo Ball could work for Pels

From the point of view of the New Orleans Pelicans, a sign-and-trade could absolutely work when it comes to Lonzo Ball.

If the Pelicans don’t envision Lonzo as a long term part of their future or don’t want to pay him $20 million per season, then the sign-and-trade would allow them to get something for him in the offseason rather than just letting him walk for nothing.

Of course, they would have to find the right player to trade for him, which might be difficult, as they will have to take on a similar salary or a couple of contracts that equal whatever Ball signs for.

As we already discovered during the trade deadline, there are plenty of teams who would like Ball but not many of them have anything the Pels would want in return.

Also, there is little motivation for another team to help the Pels here, as they could just offer Lonzo Ball more money and keep their players.

Theoretically it would work for the Pelicans but there are some very realistic obstacles.

New Orleans Pelicans: Would Lonzo Ball do a sign-and-trade?

There would be some motivation for Lonzo Ball to do a sign-and-trade, as the Pels can offer him more money and years than anyone else, so he could get his max deal but collect it from a different team.

But there are a few problems with this: The first is that Lonzo Ball may not care about getting max years, as signing a shorter deal would allow him to get another max contract when he is still in his prime.

Also, if Lonzo leaves as a free agent, he can choose his destination. I am sure the Pels would do their best to send him to a desirable locale, but ultimately would just take the best deal, so Lonzo has more control over his own destiny if he just leaves in free agency.

Given that there are some big challenges to a sign-and-trade, I can’t see it happening even though both the New Orleans Pelicans and Lonzo Ball could benefit.

Next. Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart: Which one should the Pels keep?. dark