Veteran point guard Lonzo Ball has agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract with the Chicago Bulls as a restricted free agent, per Shams Charania. The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a sign-and-trade agreement, ensuring they don’t lose Ball for nothing according to Charania. The Bulls are sending Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick to New Orleans and Ball will join the Bulls in return.
The young guard finished out his rookie deal with the Pelicans after being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers in the deal for Anthony Davis. Ball was thought to be part of LA’s promising young core, but ultimately the Lakers opted for a proven superstar to pair with LeBron James.
Ball has improved as a scorer and shooter, averaging 13.1 points per game over the last two seasons with New Orleans and shooting 37.6 percent from three-point range. Ball’s distribution skills haven’t waned since moving from LA to NOLA; he’s averaging 6.4 assists per game over the last two seasons. His perimeter defense is also a big attribute.
This is a major move by the Bulls, who will look to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2017. Chicago has had to build itself back up after the Fred Hoiberg hiring didn’t work out after Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose left town. Billy Donovan was brought in as coach for 2020-21 and the Bulls fell short, mostly because Zach LaVine got Covid-19.
The Bulls enter this upcoming season with a core that will feature LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Ball and Patrick Williams. Vuce was acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic before the deadline last season. His addition didn’t translate to immediate success but now the Bulls have three legitimate All-Star contenders in LaVine, Vuce and Ball, who is an above average defender and plus-passer. Ball also figured out how to shoot from long range this past season, as alluded to above.