Report: Lonzo Ball Has Agreed To A 4-Year, $85 Million Sign-And-Trade To The Bulls

Lonzo Ball has had a fascinating first four years in the NBA. He came into the league as the second overall pick of the Lakers, an anticipated franchise cornerstone at point guard, but when LeBron James arrived shortly after, the timeline sped up and Ball’s weaknesses became the focal point over his strengths.

He was dealt to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade and saw Brandon Ingram blossom into the Pelicans star, getting a max deal last summer. All the while, Ball has steadily improved and posted the best season of his career in 2020-21, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game on 41.4/37.8/78.1 shooting splits (career-bests in efficiency across the board). That uptick in shooting (back-to-back years at 37 percent from three), coupled with his passing vision and abilities as a defender made him an intriguing free agent to many, as the Pelicans seemed more than willing to let him walk as a restricted free agent.

As the clock struck 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Ball became the first deal reported of the free agency cycle, with a 4-year, $85 million agreement with the Chicago Bulls, per Shams Charania, who were long considered a top landing spot for Ball.

UPDATE: As expected, the Pelicans weren’t interested in matching that deal for Ball, but did work out a sign-and-trade to recoup some players in return, as Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple will head back to New Orleans in return for Lonzo.

The deal gives New Orleans some backcourt depth in Satoransky as they have plenty of point guard questions to answer now, while the Bulls get their top free agent target and pair ball with Zach LaVine in the backcourt as a duo that makes some sense in how they each make up for the other’s deficiencies on both ends of the floor.