The Los Angeles Lakers became the center of controversy before the February NBA trade deadline when they offered their entire young core to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire All-Star center Anthony Davis. Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was believed to be part of the trade package that would have been sent to New Orleans for Davis. After learning about the rumors, Ball reportedly informed the Lakers that he has no interest in playing for the Pelicans and wanted to be traded to a team where he could receive a starting role and significant playing time.
Some of Lonzo Ball’s preferred landing spots include the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and the Chicago Bulls. Upon learning of Ball’s desire to play for them, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the Bulls tried to acquire the 21-year-old point guard before the February NBA trade deadline.
“According to one NBA executive, the Bulls and Lakers did start initial conversations on point guard Lonzo Ball shortly after the Ball camp made it public that the Bulls would be one of his desired destinations if Los Angeles were to move him,” Cowley wrote, as quoted by 247 Sports.
Though there were discussions, a deal didn’t materialize, as the Pelicans decided to wait for the 2019 NBA offseason to move Anthony Davis so teams like the Boston Celtics, who are believed to be the team that can offer the best trade package, could join the bidding. Cowley admitted that he has no insider information regarding what type of trade package the Bulls offered to the Lakers, but he speculated that Kris Dunn and their own 2019 first-round pick were on the table.
It’s definitely not a surprise why the Bulls decided to go after Lonzo Ball before the February NBA trade deadline. They may already have Kris Dunn as their starting point guard, but his first two seasons with the Bulls have been filled with inconsistencies. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, the Bulls could resume their pursuit of Ball, especially once the Lakers try to engage in another trade discussion with the Pelicans centered on Anthony Davis.
Even if they fail to acquire Lonzo Ball, the Bulls have plenty of ways to improve their backcourt in the 2019 NBA offseason. They have the salary cap space to chase the likes of Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier in free agency, and if the ping pong balls go into their favor, they have the opportunity to select Ja Morant in the 2019 NBA Draft.