The Bulls believe they’ve found their point guard answer.
Chicago and Lonzo Ball have agreed on a four-year, $85-million deal, according to multiple reports Monday evening as free agency opened. The Pelicans have leverage in that they the right to match the offer on the restricted free agent Ball, so the teams agreed to a sign-and-trade agreement to send Ball to the Bulls. In return, Chicago will trade guard Tomas Satoransky, wing Garrett Temple and a second-round pick to New Orleans, Shams Charania of the Athletic reported.
Ball, 23, averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 assists in 31.8 minutes across 55 games last season. He shot 41.4% overall and 37.8% on 3-pointers. The Lakers selected Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and traded him to the Pelicans as part of the trade that landed them star Anthony Davis in July 2019.
Ball isn’t a high-volume pick-and-roll initiator or the type of point guard who breaks a defense down off the dribble play after play, but he fills needs for the Bulls and projects as a solid fit alongside Zach LaVine in the backcourt. Ball is a superb passer who thrives in transition. He’s likely to play off the ball more in the half-court, where he can act a connector and serve as a secondary playmaker while LaVine continues to take the reins of the Bulls’ offense. Ball proved to be a strong high-volume perimeter shooter when others create for him, as he shot 40.2% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season. And with a 6-foot-6 frame, Ball has the tools to guard multiple positions defensively.
Assuming the Bulls move forward with the sign-and-trade route to get Ball, they'll remain an over-the-cap team, meaning they'll have the full mid-level exception to use to add a rotation player to help fortify their roster as well.