The Bulls are acquiring guard Lonzo Ball as part of a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans. Chicago is sending guards Tomáš Satoranský, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick to the Pelicans, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and David Aldridge.
For the Bulls, it was a massive opening move as the curtain was lifted on free agency. More is expected, but the Bulls jumped out to a good start in snagging the 23-year-old Ball.
How he fits: Ball will step in as the most natural ball distributor the Bulls have. He isn’t the elite playmaker Chicago lacks, but Ball possesses great court vision and passing precision. His ability to find open teammates in transition and as a secondary facilitator is expected to bring much better flow to Bulls coach Billy Donovan’s offense. Ball’s 3-point shot has evolved a ton since he entered the league as the second overall pick in 2017. He’s increased his 3-point percentage year over year, from 30 percent as a rookie to 38 percent on 8.3 attempts per game last season. That improvement will be a boost to the Bulls, who at times struggled to hit open shots. Ball also is a defensive pest on the perimeter, one of the better young defenders in the league. At 6-foot-6, he has the ideal size to defend multiple positions and alleviate some pressure from Bulls leading scorer Zach LaVine on that end.
2021-22 impact: In a word, Ball brings stability. He’ll certainly step in as a starter. The question is whether he’ll be deployed as the point guard or as a hybrid guard in a potential three-guard first string. The answer depends on what comes next for the Bulls. If they target another veteran point guard, Ball can be used as a wing who can chip in with ballhandling and playmaking duties. Either way, Ball gives the Bulls a steady hand and more talent in a backcourt that has been struggling to locate consistency since Derrick Rose left town.