NBA Rumors: LA Lakers Could Search For 'Potential Pathways' To Reacquire Lonzo Ball In 2021 Free Agency

Lonzo Ball surveying the court
Gettyimages | Steph Chambers
Basketball

The Los Angeles Lakers are set to face a huge dilemma regarding their starting point guard position in the 2021 offseason. Dennis Schroder, the team's floor general in the 2020-21 NBA season, would become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Though he expressed his desire to run it back with the Purple and Gold next year, the Lakers may be forced to let him walk away if he demands a maximum contract in the 2021 free agency.

As of now, rumors are circulating that the Lakers have already started finding potential replacements for Schroder on the trade and free agency market.

Lakers Explore Possible Reunion With Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball going up against Collin Sexton
Gettyimages | Sean M. Haffey

One of the potential targets for the Lakers in the 2021 free agency is Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans. Two years after they used him as a trade chip to acquire Anthony Davis from New Orleans, there are growing speculations about a possible reunion between Ball and the Purple and Gold in the 2021 offseason. In his Substack newsletter, Marc Stein of New York Times said that the Lakers are expected to search for "potential pathways" to bring Ball back to Los Angeles this summer.

"Expect to eventually hear of them searching for potential pathways, however obstacle-strewn they would be, to reacquiring restricted free agent-to-be Lonzo Ball for that reason," Stein wrote. What makes him a more intriguing acquisition for the Lakers is his familiarity with LeBron James' game. With the lone season that they spent together, Ball has learned how to excel alongside James with or without the ball in his hands.

Lonzo Ball & Pelicans Could Part Ways In Free Agency

Lonzo Ball running the Pelicans' offense
Gettyimages | Julio Aguilar

There's indeed a possibility for the Lakers to get Ball in the 2021 free agency. Though the 23-year-old point guard perfectly fits the timeline of franchise cornerstones Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, it seems like the Pelicans aren't willing to give the former No. 2 overall pick a huge payday when he becomes a free agent.

The Pelicans haven't closed their doors on the idea of re-signing Ball but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, they are highly unlikely to match a significant offer sheet for the young point guard this summer.

Potential Pathways To Reacquire Lonzo Ball In 2021 Free Agency

Lonzo Ball showing his improve shooting
Gettyimages | Julio Aguilar

In a recent article, Christian Rivas of SB Nation's Silver Screen & Roll suggested two ways that would enable the Lakers to reacquire Ball in the 2021 free agency. The first option is signing him outright as a free agent.

Before they could do that, they would first need to renounce the cap holds of some their incoming free agents such as Schroder, Jared Dudley, Wesley Matthews, and Markieff Morris. To open up $20 million salary cap space, they should also find takers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Marc Gasol.

Another way to acquire Ball is engaging in a sign-and-trade deal with the Pelicans. The Pelicans would definitely prefer the second option since it would prevent them from losing Ball without getting anything in return.

Lonzo Ball's On-Court Impact On Lakers

Lonzo Ball making plays for the Pelicans
Gettyimages | Andy Lyons

Targeting Ball in the 2021 free agency would make a lot of sense for the Lakers, especially if they don't have any plan of re-signing Schroder. Compared to when he last played for the Purple and Gold, Ball has grown into a much better player on both ends of the floor and shown massive improvement with his shooting.

This season, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.