The 2021 NBA Free Agency begins Monday, June 6th at 6:pm. ET and there is a lot of talk about Lonzo Ball, the restricted free agent and Chicago Bulls. Ball-to Chicago rumors started to surface before the deadline for the Bulls to trade him. It’s not surprising that things are picking up now with the start of free agency.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer said Saturday that there was “mutual interest” between Ball and Bulls in a deal for a total of north of $80million over four years. Chris Haynes, Yahoo Sports’ NBA TV host, spoke Saturday night about Ball and Chicago likely reaching an agreement.
Marc Stein said Sunday Ball going to the Bulls is being “hotly discussed” around the NBA. It would be disappointing for Ball to not go to the Bulls, given all of this smoke. It’s important to remember that nothing can be considered a “done deal” until it is.
Ball and Bulls have one question: How would they acquire him? They would use their cap space to offer him a deal sheet. They could also try to use the extra cap space and negotiate a deal-and-trade. There are some complications with a sign-and-trade because of Base Year Compensation rules, which limits how much salary can go to the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade. This could be made possible by using draft capital.
To clear some space, Chicago just declined Ryan Arcidiacono’s $3 million team option. Lauri Markkanen received a qualifying offer for a restricted-free agency. He has an cap of over $20 million. Thaddeus Youth and Tomas Satoransky were given Sunday deadlines to ensure that their contracts became fully guaranteed. Their combined earnings for 2021-22 are more than $24 million. The Bulls do not have the cap space they need yet, so there could be some room for maneuvering (renouncing Markkanen would be an option).
The Pelicans are still able to match Chicago’s offer sheet as of now. The Pelicans could get Kyle Lowry for a very lucrative deal. This would likely close the doors to a Ball return. There are rumors, though, that the Miami Heat are the favorite for Lowry, so what would the Pelicans do if they strike out on Lowry? Would they pivot to another point guard option or match on Ball? Reporting has suggested New Orleans doesn’t want to match a big Ball offer sheet, but things can change.
Another team could also be interested in Ball. Fischer says the Boston Celtics are going hard after the young guard, with Marcus Smart potentially being used as trade bait in a sign-and-trade deal. New York Knicks could offer a huge deal due to their large cap space. With all of their cap space, the Dallas Mavericks could be a good option. Ball taking Lowry’s spot in Toronto could be a possibility, with Stadium’s Shams Charania recently lumping the Raptors in with the Bulls and Celtics as expected suitors. Other teams could be interested.
There are rumblings about a possible reunion of Derrick Rose and the Bulls, regardless of whether they get Ball. Fischer and K.C. Johnson from NBC Sports Chicago has suggested the possibility. Rose had an excellent season playing for Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks, after being traded from the Detroit Pistons.
Dennis Schroder has been mentioned on numerous occasions. However, he is only a temporary backup. It’s clear the Bulls recognize their need to upgrade in the backcourt (they also just drafted Ayo Dosunmu), especially with Coby White recovering from shoulder surgery, and they’re going to cast a wide net. Ball is the priority. He’s a great fit for Zach LaVine, thanks to his 3-point shooting, improved defense and passing skills.
Publited at Mon, 2 Aug 2021 00.05:34 +0000