Lonzo Ball will be one of the most attractive options on the open market this offseason, but the former No. 2 pick won’t have complete freedom to choose where he plays next season.
Ball, 23, is going to be a restricted free agent later this summer. As a result, the New Orleans Pelicans can match any offer thrown his way.
However, the Pelicans aren’t going to blindly match any offer that Ball receives this offseason. In fact, they have apparently set a bar for what they’re willing to pay.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Pelicans are “unlikely to match” a significant offer sheet given to Ball.
This all comes down to what New Orleans considers a “significant offer.” ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks believes the team would avoid an offer sheet that exceeds $18 million per year.
The Pelicans are unlikely to match a significant offer sheet on 23-year-old point guard Lonzo Ball, sources tell @ShamsCharania.
The Bulls and Clippers are expected to be among the teams interested in Ball.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 13, 2021
If the Pelicans don’t re-sign Ball this offseason, he could end up with the Chicago Bulls or Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams are reportedly in the mix for the UCLA product.
Chicago would have a fun backcourt duo if it signs Lonzo Ball later this year. His game would most likely mesh well with Zach LaVine’s.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, may need another ball-handler if Kawhi Leonard signs elsewhere this offseason. Even if he does stay with the Clippers, they can use an upgrade at point guard.
Ball averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Pelicans this past season.