January 27, 2021
NBA Rumors: Lonzo Ball & Willy Hernangomez Could Be Traded To Warriors For Oubre, Smailagic & Second-Rounder

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball is one of the young players who are expected to be moved before the 2021 trade deadline. Though the team isn't actively trying to trade him, rumors are circulating that the Pelicans are open to dealing the former No. 2 overall pick if the right offer comes along. So far, Ball has already been linked to several teams that are in dire need of a backcourt boost to improve their chances of winning the title in the 2020-21 NBA season, including the Golden State Warriors.

In a recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report named the Warriors as one of the potential landing spots for Ball before the deadline. Golden State may be currently tied for the No. 8 spot in the loaded Western Conference, but they might need to surround Stephen Curry with a better supporting cast in order to have a legitimate chance of reclaiming their throne and reviving their dynasty this year. In the proposed trade deal with the Pelicans, the Warriors would send a package that includes Kelly Oubre Jr., Alen Smailagic, and a 2022 second-round pick to New Orleans in exchange for Ball and Willy Hernangomez.

If the hypothetical deal pushes forward, Bailey believes it would help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.

"For the Pelicans, they at least get a little bit of draft capital for a player they might lose in free agency anyway. And 20-year-old Alen Smailagic offers some intrigue on a low-salary contract that lasts for three more years. In the short term, Oubre would not help with New Orleans' shooting woes unless he rediscovered his form from 2019-20. He would add more athleticism to a roster that already includes Zion [Williamson] and [Brandon] Ingram, though. Those three in the open court could be scary."

Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 08, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Getty Images | Andy Lyons

Ball may not be as good a scorer as Oubre right now, but Bailey thinks trading for him would make a lot of sense for the Warriors. Though he's expected to serve as Stephen Curry's temporary backcourt partner while Klay Thompson is recovering from an injury, he wouldn't have to change his playing style and do everything the All-Star shooting guard does on the offensive end of the floor.

As Bailey noted, Golden State would likely require Ball to play an Andre Iguodala-type role wherein he would focus more on defending and moving the ball. Aside from Ball, the Warriors would also be acquiring a promising big man in the potential deal with the Pelicans. Hernangomez's numbers may not be that impressive but if he's given enough time to showcase his talent, he could be a dominant force under the basket and serve as a reliable backup for James Wiseman.