The Los Angeles Lakers have had their fair share of drama in the past decade that has made them one of the more chaotic teams in the NBA. The most infamous incidents involving Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal alone would probably still make the Lakers the worst team to be a part of if you were in the NBA until 2016. However, the recent free agency period has made the Lakers a much more respectable team.
The Los Angeles Lakers were a team definitely in need of a new franchise point guard, and all signs were pointing to Lonzo Ball as the perfect fit. The Lakers had been a perennial contender for years, but a roster full of aging, injury-prone stars had the team falling well short of their goals.
Lonzo Ball’s NCAA career is over, and he’s been a high-profile NBA free agent for a few days now. The Lakers got it done, but the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers both failed spectacularly. Rather than going on a rant about how they all failed, though, let’s make this a three-point post about the teams that ended up losing out.
On the first day of NBA free agency, point guard Lonzo Ball shocked the world by signing a four-year, $85 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.
Coby White is a promising young point guard for the Bulls, but he is obviously not the genuine franchise point guard they need. Rather of being a playmaker and facilitator like Lonzo, White is more of a combo guard with a streaky scoring ability.
After a trade deadline deal with the Orlando Magic last season, the Bulls went all-in on Lonzo, giving up Wendell Carter Jr. and a top-10 selection in this year’s NBA Draft for Nikola Vucevic.
After battling on the bright lights with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first few seasons in the NBA, Lonzo, the former No. 2 overall selection, has had an up-and-down career. He was subsequently traded to the Pelicans of New Orleans in a package deal with Brandon Ingram in exchange for superstar Anthony Davis.
Lonzo had a lot of suitors when he approached free agency this summer before signing with the Bulls. These clubs may have wished they had pushed harder to sign the young floor general, since his career is on the rise.
Here are three clubs who were in desperate need of signing Lonzo Ball but were unable to do it.
New Orleans Pelicans
Since Lonzo was a restricted free agent, the Pelicans had the right to match any offer made for him. With the Pelicans, he has significantly revived his career, demonstrating flexibility, confidence, drive, and significant progress each year. Last season, he had 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists a game while shooting 41.4 percent from the field.
He’s been chastised for his inability to make three-pointers. Last season, though, Lonzo hushed the naysayers by shooting a career-high 37.8% from beyond the arc. He made a name for himself as a legitimate three-point threat. We witnessed how good the Pelicans were last season when he was on the court.
The 23-year-old was also a good match for the Pelicans’ timetable, since they already had Brandon Ingram, 23, and Zion Williamson, 21, under contract.
Lonzo was the ideal complement to rising star Zion because he can play off the ball, something the former Duke standout does on occasion. Lonzo has a great basketball IQ, as shown by his ability to manage the offense, make sound choices, assist, create plays, and, most importantly, deliver lobs to Zion.
It’ll be fascinating to watch how the Pelicans’ offense functions without their floor general next season.
Knicks of New York
According to Danny Abriano of SNY, the Knicks were interested in dealing for Lonzo at last season’s trade deadline. Because the Knicks are in desperate need of a franchise point guard, they may regret not dealing for or signing Lonzo. Derrick Rose is a good match for their requirements, but he’s nearing the end of his career. Kemba Walker would be a good addition, but he’s a lot older than Lonzo Ball.
With RJ Barrett and Julius Randle at the helm, Lonzo would have suited the Knicks’ timetable perfectly. Lonzo would have been a perfect fit with these two rising players since he can play off the ball and won’t take away their touches.
He would have been a good fit for the Knicks since he is a lockdown defender, something coach Tom Thibodeau prefers. Lonzo is a large point guard with a 6’6″ body who can defend opposing guards and occasionally wings.
The Knicks were in need of someone who could bring something new to the table. His ability to make magic happen in fast-break situations and blast passes into the paint is as deadly as ever, and the Pelicans’ offense flowed through him while he was on the court. Lonzo Ball, a dazzling point guard, might have been exactly what the Knicks needed now and in the future.
Raptors of Toronto
The Pelicans sacrificed some money to match Zion with All-Star veteran Kyle Lowry, which was one of the reasons for the salary reduction. However, in a sign-and-trade transaction that brought Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to the Raptors, Lowry ended up with the Miami Heat.
Because of their age, Lonzo would have been a better option than Dragic at this stage in their careers. Dragic is already 35 years old, thus he and the Raptors don’t make sense together.
Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., and OG Anunoby all play for the Raptors. Lonzo would have been an excellent addition to the team’s resurgence. His playmaking would have been beneficial to his young colleagues.
Lonzo’s smart passing, floor space, and hard-nosed defense might have aided the youthful Raptors on both sides of the court.
The Lakers are not only the team that got the unfortunate news that they had to let go of their point guard of the future early this season, but they are also one of the three teams that have been rumored to acquire the UCLA point guard. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Lonzo’s passing skills, athleticism, and shooting range would only increase the Lakers’ chances of making the NBA playoffs.. Read more about where is lonzo ball going and let us know what you think.
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