Lonzo Ball is one of the better free agent guards available this NBA offseason, but he is a restricted free agent, giving the Pelicans leverage over him in contract negotiations. Ball could still wind up going to another team, but New Orleans does have the ability to match any offer he receives, as well as use him as a possible sign-and-trade candidate.
On Monday afternoon, the Pelicans made a big move that could be very telling of what they plan to do not only in the draft, but in free agency as well next week.
New Orleans traded Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the No. 10 pick, the No. 40 pick and the Lakers’ 2022 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected) to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 17 pick and the No. 51 pick in the draft.
Not only did New Orleans move back in the draft and out of the lottery, but the Pelicans freed up some much needed cap space that they could now use in free agency to be aggressive in their hunt for more talent. Bringing back Lonzo Ball is a possibility, but going after Kyle Lowry seems even more likely now.
The 35-year-old point guard is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and the Pelicans seem to be a team that is “very interested” in pursuing him according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Keep an eye on rumors as NBA free agency approaches…
If the New Orleans Pelicans are able to sign Kyle Lowry, then they will not have a need for Lonzo Ball anymore, which is why they could look to leverage him in a sign-and-trade. According to J. Michael of The IndyStar, Ball could be an actual target of the Pacers this offseason. Let’s take a look at what a potential sign-and-trade for Lonzo Ball between the Pacers and Pelicans could look like.
Indiana Pacers Receive: G Lonzo Ball (via sign-and-trade), NOP 2023 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected)
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: G Malcolm Brogdon, G Jeremy Lamb
Now this would certainly be a big move for the Pelicans to make, especially since they seem to be in a “win-now mode.” Hypothetically, if the Pelicans were able to bring in Kyle Lowry and then trade for Malcolm Brogdon, they could have a rotation of Lowry, Brogdon, Ingram, Williamson and Valanciunas, giving them one of the most talented starting fives in the league.
The only problem with all of this is that the salary cap is a real thing and the Pelicans would go way over it and into luxury tax land, something they have never done in their history as an NBA franchise. Getting Brogdon would be a huge move for the Pelicans, but it would cost them financially.