Lonzo Ball signs four-year, $85m deal to join All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic in Chicago; Alex Caruso also picked up by the Bulls on first day of free agency; Pelicans replace Ball with Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte Graham
Tuesday 3 August 2021 07:12, UK
Point guard Lonzo Ball is set to be traded to the Chicago Bulls for point guard Tomas Satoransky, forward Garrett Temple and a future second-round pick, according to multiple reports.
Ball plans to sign a four-year, $85m contract with the Bulls in a sign-and-trade agreement, as confirmed by his representatives Klutch Sports.
The Pelicans are replacing the point guard with Charlotte Hornets' player Devonte Graham in a separate sign-and-trade deal.
Ball, a four-year veteran who turns 24 in October and entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, is coming off his most productive season. In his second year with the Pelicans, he averaged career highs in points (14.6 per game) and field-goal percentage (41.4) while dishing 5.7 assists per game.
Drafted second overall by the Lakers out of UCLA in 2017, Ball has changed his shooting mechanics since being traded to New Orleans as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
Ball hit a career-high 172 three-pointers last season while making a career-best 37.8 per cent of his shots from deep.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the Bulls had discussions about another sign-and-trade deal to acquire DeMar DeRozan from the San Antonio Spurs for Lauri Markkanen.
Now he goes from teaming with dynamic power forward Zion Williamson to joining Olympian Zach LaVine and two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic in a trio the Bulls hope will transform them into contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago also added free agent guard Alex Caruso on a four-year, $37m deal. The 27-year-old was part of the Los Angeles Lakers' championship-winning roster in 19-20 and reunites with Ball, whom he played with for two seasons at Staples Center.
The Bulls finished the 2020-21 campaign 11th in the East at 31-41, two games behind Charlotte for the final play-in spot. While they missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year, it was their first season with Arturas Karnisovas leading the basketball operation and Billy Donovan coaching the club.
New Orleans, meanwhile, will complete a deal with the Hornets for restricted free agent Graham in exchange for a first-round pick, according to both ESPN and The Athletic.
Graham will receive a four-year, $47m contract in the sign-and-trade swap that will net Charlotte a lottery-protected first-round draft choice in 2022.
Graham was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2018 draft but was immediately dealt to the Hornets.
Over three seasons in Charlotte, Graham averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 164 games, including 100 starts. Last season, he put up 14.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per contest, all down from the 19-20 season.
Elsewhere on the roster the Pelicans' long-term plans for Satoransky and Temple are unclear. New Orleans basketball operations chief David Griffin has a history of expanding initial two-team team trades to involve more teams and additional swapping of assets, as he did last season when he traded Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. That deal expanded to include Denver and Oklahoma City.
Satoransky, from the Czech Republic, has played five NBA seasons - his first three with Washington and past two with the Bulls. He has averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 assists in 333 games.
Temple is an 11-year veteran out of LSU who has played for Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Washington, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn. He has averages of 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in the league.
The Pelicans still also have two young guards who were first-round draft choices Nickeil Alexander-Walker in 2019 and Kira Lewis Jr. in 2020.