The New Orleans Pelicans have tough offseason decisions to make on restricted free agents Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
Both players ended the season injured on the bench after having up and down seasons.
Lonzo Ball played some of the best basketball of his career for a stretch but then got hurt and was inconsistent, especially shooting the ball.
Josh Hart cemented himself as one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA, the ultimate glue guy who would fit on just about any team and help them win.
The Pelicans will have two big holes to fill if they let both of them walk, which I can’t see happening.
Even though there will be suitors for both, I do think the New Orleans Pelicans will re-sign both of them this offseason.
The Pels can make both contract offers that would satisfy their demands and keep the team under the cap.
New Orleans Pelicans: How much will Lonzo Ball make in free agency?
Lonzo Ball is the toughest call, as he has shown star ability but has also been injured a lot and very inconsistent at times.
He is still only 23-years-old, has a good rapport with superstar Zion Williamson and seemingly wants to come back, so the Pels should take a risk that Lonzo Ball is going to get better and re-sign him.
I predict that Lonzo Ball will receive 4 years and $85 million from the New Orleans Pelicans this offseason. That’s probably about as high as the Pelicans are going to go, so if some team like the Knicks wants to offer him a lot more, expect a sign-and-trade or for Lonzo Ball to just walk in free agency.
Pelicans: How much will Josh Hart make in free agency?
I think this is a little more difficult to predict, as Hart would be getting a big pay raise this offseason if he had shot the ball better, but he didn’t so here we are.
There will be teams lined up to try to get him with the mid-level exception, but $9.5 million probably won’t be enough to get Hart.
I predict that Hart will sign a 4 year/$50 million contract to stay with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Again, if some other team wants to pay Josh Hart $15 million a year, the Pelicans should let them.
If the Pelicans signed these two players to these contracts they would still have some cap space under the luxury tax and could still make a move to trade Eric Bledsoe and clear some more money.
The New Orleans Pelicans need some big changes this offseason, but they should be able to keep both Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart if they want to.