The Chicago Bulls might as well put the jersey in the pro shops because the Lonzo Ball rumors have reached a boiling point.
“Sources have informed that it looks like there is going to be a marriage that gets started between Lonzo Ball and the Chicago Bulls,” Haynes said on NBATV’s latest episode of Free Agent Fever.
It’s going to take just a catastrophe of a hiccup for things not to work out with Chicago. It would have to be a sign-and-trade scenario as well to get New Orleans over there in Chicago. But, as of right now, sources told me that Chicago looks like there is going to be a marriage that takes place.”
If a reported contract number did not make us feel confident that negotiations were reaching an end behind the scenes, Haynes claiming that it would take a “catastrophe of a hiccup” for a deal not to get done should. Words like these basically tell us it is only a matter of free agency opening at 5:00 p.m. CT tomorrow for Adrian Wojnarowski to send out the tweet. Don’t worry, I have his notifications on!
The question now is how does the deal get done? Haynes says it would have to be a sign-and-trade situation, which I find rather interesting. Not only have reports surfaced recently that suggest New Orleans is not expected to match any offer sheets thrown Ball’s way, but there is a path for the Bulls to open up enough cap space to make a run at him. For example, the Bulls could let all their free agents walk while also stretching-and-waiving (or trading) Tomas Satoransky and Al-Farouq Aminu. Thaddeus Young’s $14.1 million would remain on the books for frontcourt depth, but they should still have enough cap space to make a run at Ball. The other option, of course, is to move on from all free agents while waiving Aminu to open maximum cap space for free agency.
A sign-and-trade option could allow for Chicago to retain even more of their own free agents, though, while also giving New Orleans a chance to not lose Ball for nothing. But who would the Bulls give back in such a deal? The Pelicans did not want Lauri Markkanen at the trade deadline, and rumors are swirling that he has interest from the Timberwolves and Spurs. Could Tomas Satoransky get the deal done? The Athletic’s John Hollinger seems to think so, and he also threw out the idea of a three-team deal.
I should point out, additionally, that I only covered a two-team scenario here. There are others where the Bulls involve a third team to take Satoransky, Ryan Arcidiacono or a signed-and-traded player of their own, and the Bulls could then operate as an “over the cap” team and retain access to their full mid-level exception. It could end up being a very complicated deal.
He’s right, things could always get complicated, but it appears there is enough interest from both Ball and the Bulls to ensure something gets done. I can’t wait for tomorrow!