NBA Rumors: Celtics & Three Other East Teams Interested In Signing Lonzo Ball In 2021 Free Agency

Lonzo Ball making plays for the Pelicans
Gettyimages | Steph Chambers
Basketball

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball is one of the young players who are expected to change teams in the 2021 offseason. As a restricted free agent, the only thing that the Pelicans need to do to bring him back is to match the offers of other teams. However, despite showing improved chemistry with Zion Williamson in the 2020-21 NBA season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Pelicans are highly unlikely to match significant offers for Ball in the 2021 free agency.

Potential Suitors Of Lonzo Ball On Free Agency Market

Lonzo Ball shooting the ball from the perimeter
Gettyimages | Julio Aguilar

With Charania's report, it's crystal clear that Ball's days in New Orleans are already numbered. Though the Pelicans aren't willing to give him a huge payday, the former No. 2 pick is still expected to receive plenty of suitors on the free agency market. A week before the 2021 NBA free agency officially starts, Charania revealed in a video posted by Stadium on Twitter that four Eastern Conference teams are planning to pursue Ball this summer.

These include the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers.

Bulls Interested In Adding Lonzo Ball Since 2021 Trade Deadline

Lonzo Ball finding an open teammate
Gettyimages | Jonathan Daniel

The Bulls have long been interested in adding Ball to their roster. After they successfully acquired Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic, the Bulls emerged as a dark-horse destination for Ball before the 2021 trade deadline. Though they failed to secure a deal with the Pelicans, the Bulls could pursue Ball once again this summer.

If they could clear enough salary-cap space to offer him $21-22 million per season, the Bulls would no longer need to give up precious assets to acquire Ball this offseason.

Celtics And Raptors Need Replacement For Old Point Guards

Lonzo Ball guarding Kyle Lowry
Gettyimages | Julio Aguilar

It's hardly a surprise that the Celtics and the Raptors are included on the list of potential suitors for Ball in the 2021 free agency. The Celtics just lost Kemba Walker in the deal that sent Al Horford back to Boston before the end of the 2020-21 NBA season. Signing Ball would give the Celtics a new starting-caliber point guard that perfectly fits the timeline of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Meanwhile, Ball would be a great replacement for Kyle Lowry, who is also set to become a free agent this summer. He may still be young and lack experience, but adding him to the core of Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam would help the Raptors remain competitive in the post-Lowry era.

Pacers, Pelicans Could Explore Lonzo Ball-Malcolm Brogdon Trade

Lonzo Ball trying to block Malcolm Brogdon
Gettyimages | Chris Graythen

Meanwhile, the Pacers' inclusion has been somewhat a surprise since they currently have former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon as their starting point guard. However, it seems like the Pacers no longer see Brogdon as part of their long-term plan. In a recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN and NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony discussed the rumors linking Ball to the Pacers.

Lowe confirmed to Givony that the sign-and-trade deal that would send Ball to the Pacers in exchange for Ball is currently "one of the hot rumors" in the league.