Now that we’re through All-Star Weekend, the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching. Earlier this season, it looked very likely that the New Orleans Pelicans would move former No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball ahead of the March 25 deadline.
The former UCLA star has seen a real uptick in production in recent weeks, especially as a shooter for the Pelicans. Ball’s field goal percentage (42.8), three-point percentage (38.7), free throw percentage (77.5), and eFG% (54.9) are all career highs by a decent margin.
Of course, that success could also fuel a resurgence of trade rumors, if another team wants to add a solid playmaking point guard who isn’t a liability as a shooter, as he once was, and can defend on the perimeter. As the Pelicans look to run more of the offense through Zion Williamson, it could make sense to get assets back for Ball, who they may not want to re-sign this offseason. For now, The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor says that things have cooled.
“Trade talks involving Ball have fizzled for now, league sources say. Ball has been at times the Pelicans’ best defender, and he’s certainly their best playmaker in the backcourt,” he wrote in a recent power rankings piece. “But New Orleans needs to consider the type of contract Ball will demand this offseason in restricted free agency, and whether giving it to him would limit future possibilities.”
New NBA power rankings at the halfway point: https://t.co/G5238qvBXC
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 8, 2021
“Trading the 23-year-old will remain a possibility, especially since the Pelicans are expected to be active ahead of the trade deadline. Executives say they could be buyers or sellers, depending on what direction the trade winds blow,” O’Connor continued.
Lonzo Ball is averaging a career high 14.5 points, along with 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
At 15-21, the New Orleans Pelicans are on the outside looking in of the Western Conference Playoff picture. They’re currently tied for the 11th spot in the league. With the new playoff structure, where the seventh-through-10th ranked teams can play their way into the eight-team field, the Pels are three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for that coveted No. 10 spot.