It's pretty safe to say that Lonzo Ball's career hasn't gotten off to the start most people expected. Either because of injury, poor luck, or a combination of both, he hasn't been able to live up to the hype and expectations that come from being the second overall pick of the draft.
Then again, Lonzo is still pretty young and is far from a bust. He's shown his elite playmaking skills while also being a top-notch backcourt defender, perhaps the biggest surprise of his development thus far.
He's not and may never be a scoring threat but his shooting stroke from deep has improved on a yearly basis. However, once again, it seems like he's not in the right place right now.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Ball couldn't agree to a contract extension and the belief around the league is that they'd be better off with shooters around Zion Williamson, and Lonzo is far from a shooter right now. That being said, he's a likely trade candidate as the deadline approaches.
And, according to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Chicago Bulls would be more than willing to acquire his services and work on a long-term extension with him, even though matching the salaries makes it a tough deal to pull off:
"Multiple league sources told Action Network that Chicago is (currently) the most likely landing spot for Ball. That’s based on multiple factors, including the preference of both Ball and his agent, Rich Paul, Chicago’s interest in making a roster move, and the Pelicans’ openness to discussions.
The question is what Ball’s value is. The Pelicans are looking for an upgrade on the wing. Does that mean Otto Porter, who makes $28.5 million and would be difficult to match salaries with? Porter has an expiring contract. If the Pelicans are looking to clear space, that’s a feature. If they are looking for contracts to manage long-term, it’s a bug.
The Pelicans would have to give up multiple pieces for Porter, not only for his talent but for his contract, so maybe it’s more in line with Thaddeus Young. Young is more of a power forward in today’s game, and given that the Pelicans have both Zion Williamson and Steven Adams, that doesn’t make much sense. Young hasn’t played any small forward this season for Chicago," the report concluded.
The Bulls have a bit of a logjam at the wings right now with lottery pick Patrick Williams, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchinson, and Zach LaVine, who could slide into that spot.
Also, they could certainly use Lonzo's defense and playmaking to allow Coby White to be more of an off-the-ball threat, while also hiding his defensive flaws. The fit is there and it's clearly a win-win scenario, as the Pelicans could see what they got in rookie Kira Lewis Jr, so we'll have to wait and see whether they're able to pull the trigger on this deal or not.