Not many prospects have been quite as hyped as the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball. His style of play had generated plenty of buzz on its own, but it was his father LaVar Ball who took it to a different level, making Ball one of the most popular young players in the league. With high expectations for him to immediately make an impact for the Los Angeles Lakers, fans were disappointed with his rookie campaign as Ball didn't play as well as anticipated.
While rumors suggested that the Lakers explored moving him in the summer, they opted to keep him on the roster after all since they still believed in Ball reaching his potential. But of course there were doubts whether Ball would fit in next to LeBron James since both players need the ball in their hands to be effective. With LeBron on the team, the pressure only increased for Ball to perform at a higher level as management and fans expect the Lakers to return to the postseason in 2019.
Ball's sophomore year hasn't seen much improvement from him as a player, as his shooting struggles continue to affect his play on the court. As he continues to lose value on the court, the Lakers have to consider moving him sooner rather than later if they wish to get valuable assets in return. At the moment, Ball may be looking like a bust but we all know that some players need longer time to develop, so he would surely generate plenty of interest among teams hoping to unlock his potential. Here are 10 teams who would be interested in Lonzo Ball and 10 who would avoid him at all costs:
20 Would Be Interested: Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have a great young core that could make plenty of noise in the future. They are also willing to allow them to develop, knowing that they may not win enough games to make the postseason. Lonzo Ball is still a project in the works who needs to be in the right situation to excel, and the Bulls may very well be what he needs. Not only could he grow with them, but Ball would also be able to run the team without having to carry the scoring load since the team already has a number of options.
19 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics already have their PG of the future in Kyrie Irving, and unless he bolts in free agency, they won't be replacing him anytime soon. In an ideal situation, Lonzo Ball would like to remain a starter and that wouldn't be the case if he were to join the Celtics. The team is already constructed great as it is, and the only potential upgrade would be at the frontcourt, if any. It's a deal that makes no sense for either side that is made even more unlikely considering the longtime rivalry between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
18 Would Be Interested: Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have a weak core outside of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. They also have one of the worst starting PG's in the league, so they certainly need to shake up their roster if they wish to achieve any success in the near future. Lonzo Ball would benefit greatly from playing alongside Blake Griffin and it is likely that they would bring out the best out of each other. That's not to mention that the Pistons have a good coach in Dwane Casey who could assist Ball in taking the next step in his journey to become a great player.
17 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are in win now mode and cannot afford to wait for Lonzo Ball to develop as a player. They are also a team that relies on three point shooters, which Ball lacks as of now so he wouldn't thrive in their system. Since James Harden handles the playmaking duties often, that means Ball would have to stay in the corner as a catch and shooter which simply isn't his game. Not to mention that the Rockets already have Chris Paul as their point guard, and they won't be able to move him due to his massive deal.
16 Would Be Interested: Brooklyn Nets
After having been a lottery team for many years, the Brooklyn Nets are back in contention for a playoff spot. They certainly have some good players on the roster although they will need more if they wish to remain competitive. Both sides would likely be interested in a potential trade since the Nets would be willing to take a chance on Lonzo Ball in hopes of unlocking his full potential. On the other hand, Ball would get to play for a big market team while also retaining the duties of a PG since there aren't any ball dominant players on the Nets.
15 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder is among the best teams in the Western Conference, thanks to the duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Not only do they have a great point guard with the latter, but OKC wouldn't be a suitable situation for Ball. They could try to run him at SG next to Westbrook, but that may not help the team much, considering Ball's struggles from the three-point land. OKC is still a few moves away from being a top contender, but the addition of Ball wouldn't move the needle since they already have his position covered on the court.
14 Would Be Interested: Cleveland Cavaliers
Since the departure of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have returned to their losing ways as they head towards the lottery. Their rebuild may take some time considering the lack of prospects on their roster, so it would make sense for them to trade for a player with the potential to reach All-Star heights. Lonzo Ball would enjoy a bigger role with the Cavs away from the spotlight, which may be ideal for his development in the long term. But considering Ball's struggles thus far, the Cavs may not be willing to part with many top assets, which would complicate a potential deal.
13 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have no need for Lonzo Ball at the moment, and likely won't need him anytime soon. Unless he is willing to accept a bench role, then it makes no sense for the Warriors to trade for him, since Stephen Curry has the PG position on lock. They are another team that relies on fast pace and three-point shooting so Ball wouldn't thrive in their system. Given the immense talents on the roster, the Warriors wouldn't even consider Ball as an option unless he proves to be a star player by the time Curry starts declining as a player.
12 Would Be Interested: New York Knicks
The New York Knicks need all the talent that they can get right now so they cannot turn down someone like Lonzo Ball. Considering his desire to play for a big market, he would certainly have a great interest in switching from L.A. to N.Y. in the near future if things don't work out with the Lakers. The Knicks continue to search for an answer to their PG woes and Ball could run the team for many years to come if he pans out. It would be a fitting situation for both sides so the Knicks would certainly have to be in contention for Ball if he were to get traded.
11 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors have created a culture that is unique since the arrival of Masai Ujiri. And while Lonzo Ball may not be a bad influence by any means, Ujiri wouldn't want his father Lavar to disturb the peace. That's not to mention that they still have Kyle Lowry to run the team, and while they will need a replacement in the near future as he ages, Ball is unlikely to be the answer. At the moment, it is highly doubtful that the Raptors would show any interest in acquiring Ball since he doesn't fit their current plans of competing for a championship.
10 Would Be Interested: Charlotte Hornets
At the beginning of the season, there were talks about a potential deal that would bring Kemba Walker to the Los Angeles Lakers. He is set to hit free agency in the summer, meaning that it's likely he won't re-sign with the team so the Hornets would be left without a PG. They would make sense as a destination for Lonzo Ball since he would have the keys to run the team without too much pressure on him. Ball is in dire need of heavy minutes in order to develop and that is likely to happen as a member of the Hornets.
9 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings had trouble finding a Point Guard for the longest time until the 2017 Draft when they managed to take De'Aaron Fox with the fifth overall pick. It was the very same draft in which the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball, which led to many comparisons between the two players. There is no doubt that Fox has been far more impressive thus far, and the Kings are delighted with the outcome of the draft. And while it's possible that Ball turns out to be the better player in the future, the Kings would have no interest in dropping Fox for Ball based on what we have seen from them.
8 Would Be Interested: Indiana Pacers
With all due respect to Darren Collison, he isn't good enough to be starting for a team that wishes to be competitive in the NBA unless the remaining players all happen to be great. He is better off being a sixth man off the bench, so it's no wonder that the Pacers have explored their options for their PG woes. While Lonzo Ball may be a risky move, it would be worth it for the Pacers since he could form a great duo with Victor Oladipo. But it will all depend on the Pacers' patience with having Ball grow as a player.
7 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Dallas Mavericks
It would be tough for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers to find a deal around Lonzo Ball, especially since Mark Cuban had been very critical of his father, LaVar Ball. Given the controversy that may tag along with Lonzo, Cuban would want no part of it as it would cause too many distractions on the court. It would be surprising to see them make a move for Ball out of all players since he isn't an ideal fit next to their current core as well. The Mavs would be better off finding a consistent three-point shooter to add next to Luka Doncic.
6 Would Be Interested: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards have reportedly made everyone on their roster available in trade talks, and that instantly linked the Los Angeles Lakers with their two stars, John Wall and Bradley Beal. The former has a large contract that makes him tough to move, while the latter is certainly the Wizards' best asset at the moment. If the Wizards can find a suitor to take on Wall's contract, then that would open the door for the arrival of a new PG in town as the team needs to undergo a rebuild as soon as possible, and Ball would make sense from that standpoint.
5 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: San Antonio Spurs
When the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs were negotiating a deal around Kawhi Leonard, the former offer Lonzo Ball in their trade package. However, the Spurs showed no interest in acquiring him and wanted him excluded in any possible deal. Given Gregg Popovich's lack of interest in adding Ball to the roster last summer, it's hard to imagine that things have changed since then. Ball's lack of a three-point shot would be a problem with the Spurs since they already have DeMar DeRozan who struggles from long distance as well, so there would be plenty of spacing issues on the court.
4 Would Be Interested: Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have some impressive talents at many positions, but there is no doubt that their biggest weakness is the lack of PG's. Lonzo Ball hasn't been quite as good as advertised just yet, but he is more than capable of turning it around if he is placed in the right situation. With the Magic, Ball would be able to handle PG duties alongside some younger players without the pressure of winning games right now. They could also entice the Lakers with an offer to acquire Ball, so if the Magic show interest in Ball, the two sides could certainly come to an agreement.
3 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Philadelphia 76ers
Not only do the Philadelphia 76ers have their long-term point guard with Ben Simmons, but they are already struggling to fit in their current pieces. The team doesn't need any more complications at the moment, and the addition of Lonzo Ball would be exactly that. Even if they were to implement a small lineup with Simmons and Ball starting, the 76ers would struggle plenty with spacing since neither is capable of making threes, which is a major problem in today's NBA. If anything, the 76ers need more three-point shooters rather than playmakers on the team so Ball wouldn't be a positive addition to the roster.
2 Would Be Interested: Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns have had trouble finding a PG which hurt the play of their team. Despite having multiple talented players, such as Devin Booker, they have been unable to put it all together for a good showing. They have been rumored to be interested in acquiring Lonzo Ball in the past, although the Lakers didn't want to give up on him just yet. But now that it is evident that Ball isn't the best fit next to LeBron James, they are likely to be open to listening to offers and the Suns have many pieces that would intrigue the Lakers.
1 Would Avoid Him At All Costs: Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have one of the best guards rotation in the NBA as well as their point guard for the future in Jamal Murray, so they are certainly better off avoiding a trade for Lonzo Ball. There is no place for him on the team at the time and he wouldn't be the greatest fit next to their current core. In fact, the team is currently so deep that they still have Isaiah Thomas coming off the bench who has yet to make his season debut. Barring major roster changes, it's safe to say that Ball won't be playing for the Nuggets anytime soon.