The Chicago Bulls and point guard Lonzo Ball have landed on a four-year, $85 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans , Ball’s agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.
The Bulls also reached an agreement on a four-year, $37 million deal with guard Alex Caruso .
As New Orleans shifted more to allowing Zion Williamson to run the point position in the offense, Ball’s role for the Pelicans became that of an off-ball wing who could control the offense in the open court and cede duties to Williamson in the half court. He’ll have an opportunity to run the offense with Chicago.
Ball, 23, has had an up-and-down four seasons since entering the league as the No. 2 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. It was hard to live up to sky-high expectations in L.A. right away but once he got to New Orleans, things started to settle down. As a part of the Anthony Davis trade, Ball found new shooting life with the Pelicans. After shooting 31.5% from deep and 43.7% from the line in his two seasons with the Lakers, Ball has since upped those numbers to 37.6% and 66.4%.
In 2020-21, he averaged career highs in 3-point percentage (.378), field goal percentage (.414), free throw percentage (.781), true shooting percentage (.551) and points per game (14.6).
He also protected the ball like never before with a career-low 14.5 turnover percentage, while his usage percentage was also at a career high (20.5).
Ball has struggled with injury issues throughout his young career and has yet to play a full season in the NBA. He missed 65 games in his first two seasons with the Lakers and a combined 26 in the past two years with the Pelicans.
Undrafted out of Texas A&M, Caruso is a poster child for using alternative avenues to find a home in the league — first playing in the G League and later latching onto the Lakers with a two-way contract — before signing a two-year deal with L.A. in the summer of 2019.
The 27-year-old wing showed off his versatility last season, playing minutes at shooting guard, small forward and point guard for the defending champs. He finished the season averaging 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 21 minutes per game and shot 40.1 percent from 3.
Caruso missed 14 games during the regular season because of health and safety protocols and various other injuries, however, and had to exit the Lakers’ Game 6 loss to Phoenix in the first round with a left ankle strain.
L.A. expressed interest in re-signing Caruso, sources told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, but the Lakers’ offer as a cap conscious, repeat tax-paying team was not as enticing for the four-year veteran.
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