Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans has been involved in myriad trade rumors this offseason. It seems like just about every team has been attached to him at some point, though most of them don’t make a ton of sense and may just be posturing from one of the camps.
With rumors floating that the Pelicans aren’t interested in matching a high offer sheet for Lonzo Ball, a sign-and-trade would then become a possibility, though those are pretty rare and bring their own complications, as the team doing the signing is then hard-capped for the season, which is why they rarely happen.
The most recent rumor came from Marc Stein who said that the Los Angeles Lakers may have some interest in bringing Lonzo Ball back to Los Angeles, something I am sure his legion of displaced Lakers’ fans would love.
Ball has also been connected to the Bulls and Clippers, which make a lot more sense than the Lakers. Here is why this is not happening.
Pelicans: The Lakers do not have the cap space for Lonzo Ball
If the Lakers were to try and pry Lonzo Ball away from the Pelicans, they would have to do so by making him an offer that the Pels didn’t want to match. I don’t know how high the Pelicans are willing to go, but I imagine it would take a contract starting in the $20 million per year range to get them to walk away.
How exactly are the Lakers offering that? They are into the luxury tax already and only have seven guys under contract for next season. They might be able to trade Montrezl Harrell or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to clear some space but it still likely wouldn’t be enough to sign another max player.
Pelicans: A sign-and-trade with the Lakers for Lonzo Ball is also tough
Like I said, the Pelicans might not have any interest in a sign-and-trade of Lonzo Ball and the only reason they would is if they were getting a quality player in return.
Who exactly is that player going to be? The two most obvious candidates, Talen Horton-Tucker and Dennis Schroder are both free agents, and would require a sign-and-trade of their own, which complicates matters even further.
Other than that, the Lakers simply don’t have the players to get Lonzo Ball in a trade, so I really can’t see a realistic way that this happens.
The Pelicans may end up walking away from Lonzo Ball or they could move him in a trade, but it’s unlikely to result in him on the Lakers.