NBA rumors: Pelicans open to Lonzo Ball trade calls

img ]

The New Orleans Pelicans have shown an openness to discussing trades involving guards Lonzo Ball and J.J. Redick, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Ball, 23, is a restricted free agent this offseason and is playing just over 31 minutes per game this season. Redick, 36, is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed prior to the 2019-20 season and is averaging just 20.5 minutes per game, his lowest total since the 2008-09 season.

According to The Athletic, a move involving either isn’t imminent, but a possible deal would allow the team to better evaluate recent draft picks, guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis.

The Pelicans are 5-10 on the season, giving them the second-worst record in the Western Conference. The Pelicans have been pleased with Van Gundy’s job early in his first season with the franchise, according to The Athletic.

Check out the latest news and notes from around the NBA:

Lonzo Ball Trade Rumors: Pelicans Open to Discussing Deals for PG, JJ Redick

img ]

Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans have received trade interest in veteran guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Charania reported the Pelicans have “shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams.” However, he cautioned a trade involving either player isn’t “imminent.”

According to Ian Begley of SNY, one team said the Pelicans will not trade Ball without receiving a “significant” return.

Ball and the Pelicans were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract before the deadline to do so in December. His agent, Rich Paul, indicated to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski at the time that “both sides remain positive about the ability to move forward together.”

Ball is due to be a restricted free agent in the offseason, while Redick will be an unrestricted free agent.

That New Orleans might move on from Ball is somewhat surprising since the 23-year-old fits with the franchise’s general timeline. And the Pelicans are clearly willing to invest in their best young players after signing Brandon Ingram to a five-year, $158.3 million deal in November.

Ball is struggling to open the 2020-21 season, though. He’s averaging 12.0 points, 4.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from deep. He knocked down 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts during his encouraging 2019-20 campaign.

Ball has yet to enjoy the kind of breakthrough that would put him in the upper tier at his position. Going from him to Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Kira Lewis Jr. may not be a steep drop at point guard.

Charania reported the Pelicans and Golden State Warriors talked over a swap involving Kelly Oubre Jr. Even if Ball wasn’t included in those discussions, it possibly signals a desire for New Orleans to strengthen its depth on the wing, making a Ball trade one avenue through which to make that happen.

Redick, meanwhile, is a far more logical candidate to go before the March 25 deadline.

The Pelicans are second-to-last in the Western Conference at 5-10, so challenging for the playoffs may be a bridge too far. Because of that, cashing in on Redick makes sense because his contributions may not change the team’s fortunes too much.

The 36-year-old is shooting only 30 percent on three-pointers, but his reputation as a long-range marksman is well earned. An organization with stronger postseason ambitions could certainly use him in the rotation.

NBA trade rumors: Could Pelicans move Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick before deadline?

img ]

Amid a rough start to the 2020-21 NBA season, the Pelicans may be looking to make some roster changes.

New Orleans has received calls about the availability of guards Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who reports that the Pelicans have “shown an openness” to discussing deals with interested suitors. The Pels and Warriors have talked about a potential trade involving Kelly Oubre Jr., per Charania, but the two sides haven’t made serious progress on that front.

It’s unclear if Ball and Redick were part of those conversations.

MORE: Cavaliers send Kevin Porter Jr. to Rockets following outburst

Ball has struggled this season, posting 12.0 points per game while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from 3-point range. His assist and rebounding numbers have dropped below his career averages as well, so his trade value isn’t exactly at an all-time high. Still, one team told SNY’s Ian Begley that New Orleans won’t move Ball without receiving a “significant return.”

Redick has also been in a shooting slump (33.3 percent from the field, 30.0 percent on 3-pointers), but he is an established sniper. Any contender would be happy to add that kind of quality perimeter threat to its rotation.

If the Pelicans continue to slide down the standings — they are 5-10 overall and have lost eight of their last nine games — they could shift into sell mode and search for pieces that work around franchise cornerstones Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. New Orleans should be aggressive in its pursuit of deals for Ball and Redick in that case, considering they are both set to become free agents this offseason (Ball restricted, Redick unrestricted).

It’s certainly possible the Pels keep one or both players, but at this point, it seems more likely they try to maximize their value rather than risk losing them for nothing. A trade could also be just what those guys need to break out of their current funks.