Lonzo Ball isn't expected to stay with the New Orleans Pelicans beyond this season, mostly because of the big contract he will demand in free agency. That has opened the door for the point guard to test the waters of the open market and given his improvement this season, he won't miss suitors for his services.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Pelicans are ready to spend a lot of money on their young stars as well veterans for the next couple of seasons, leaving no chance for Ball to stay with them after this season.
With Brandon Ingram already on a max deal through 2025 and Williamson bound for a max extension of his own in the 2022 offseason, the prospect of paying Ball on a long-term deal around $20 million annually gets a bit problematic — especially considering the big money that’s already on the Pelicans’ books beyond the young core. Steven Adams is owed a combined $36 million for the next two seasons, and Eric Bledsoe has $18.1 million coming his way next season (team option for $19.3 million in 2022-23).
Moreover, Amick notes that several teams will be interested in the point guard come free agency. One of those is the Golden State Warriors that already showed interest in the player ahead of the trade deadline.
Heading into the deadline, there was a chance New Orleans could have attached one of those veteran deals in a Ball-centric trade to aid its financial landscape. Instead, the Pelicans will have to wait and see what the market bears for Ball before deciding whether to match. Chicago, Atlanta, Golden State, the Clippers and the Knicks are teams that showed interest in the past and will likely do so again.
Plenty of people believe that Lonzo going to the Bay would be huge for him and the Warriors. Klay Thompson's father supported this idea not long ago, explaining why Zo would be good alongside Stephen Curry and Klay.
These rumors aren't new and even Andrew Bogut claimed that the Dubs didn't want to trade Kelly Oubre for Ball but now things could be different. The Warriors are going through a rough season and they can have a good chance to improve their roster in free agency. Ball will be a man on-demand so they'll need to bring their A-Game if they aspire to land this player.