After suffering a disappointing result in LeBron James’ first season wearing the purple and gold, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to make a huge roster overhaul this summer. Aside from parting ways with several veterans, the Lakers also traded most of their young players — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart — to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire All-Star center Anthony Davis. Though the Pelicans are currently not in the mix of teams who are considered legitimate title contenders this season, being traded to New Orleans might end up being a blessing in disguise for Ball, Ingram, and Hart.
Playing for a rebuilding team where they no longer have to share the court with a ball-dominant superstar like LeBron James could help Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart unleash their full potential and speed up their development into legitimate NBA superstars in the league. However, though the three young players perfectly fit the timeline of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans may not see all of them as part of their long-term future. According to Complex, the Pelicans may consider making Ball available on the trading block before the 2020 February trade deadline.
“This might be an overreaction, but after watching the Pelicans first game of the season, I’m not sure how much Lonzo Ball is in the team’s plans. He only played 25 minutes and barely got any run in the second half of the game before coming back in for overtime. Ball is still under contract for two more seasons, which should help set a market for the young PG. With a number of guards on the roster, it looks as though Ball and the Pelicans might be better off going in different directions.”
After just one game, it’s definitely unfair for Lonzo Ball to conclude that the Pelicans don’t view him as one of the cornerstones of the title-contending team that they are planning to build in the post-Anthony Davis era. Though he only played 25 minutes in their game against the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, the 21-year-old point guard still managed to impress after finishing with eight points, five rebounds, and five assists, while shooting 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
However, with the presence of ball handlers and playmakers like Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram in New Orleans, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Pelicans really decide to make Lonzo Ball available on the trade market before the February trade deadline. Once he’s on the trading block, several NBA teams who are in dire need of a backcourt boost are expected to express interest in acquiring Ball, including the Chicago Bulls.