All that Lonzo Ball smoke was legit. The Bulls struck immediately as free agency opened at 5 p.m. CT (what tampering?!), landing Ball on a four-year, $85 million sign-and-trade deal with the Pelicans. Shams and Woj were both on it at the start.
Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick are going to the Pelicans, per Shams. Temple was a free agent, so he’s getting three years (two guaranteed) as part of his sign-and-trade deal, per The Athletic’s David Aldridge. Ball has a player option on the fourth year, per HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto.
This is about a good a Ball sign-and-trade as we could hope for. This contract number had been out there ahead of free agency, and the trade return going to New Orleans isn’t all that much. Satoransky was always expected to be a goner, and while I wouldn’t have minded having Temple back as a veteran on the wing, losing him in this deal isn’t an issue. The Bulls then only had to include a second-round pick to finish off the deal instead of coughing up another first.
Ball isn’t the answer to all of the Bulls’ problems at point guard, but he’s a nice fit next to Zach LaVine (great ready for some sick alley-oops) and has been on the front office’s radar for a while. He just had the best season of his career by averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 37.8% from 3-point land on over eight attempts per game. He immediately becomes the best passer on the team and has defensive potential.
There have been injury concerns in his career and he has his flaws creating offense in the half court, but he’s still just 23 years old with room to grow his game. This is a nice start to free agency for the Bulls, and there’s much more work to be done. It would be nice to get something back in a Lauri Markkanen sign-and-trade, and the Bulls will have the mid-level (over $9.5 million) and bi-annual exceptions (over $3.7 million) at their disposal. The Bulls are hard-capped at around $143 million but aren’t that close to it.
In other news, it does look like Daniel Theis is going to be heading to the Rockets, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.