The Los Angeles Clippers are looking for an upgrade at the point guard position before the upcoming playoff push. One player that they have their eyes on is New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Ball is currently in the midst of his fourth season in the league and he's set for restricted free agency this summer.
The UCLA product is having a solid season for the Pelicans. Ball has started in all 38 games that he has appeared in, and he's averaging 14.2 points, 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per performance. He's also shooting a career-high 42 percent from the floor and a career-high 38 percent from long range. Despite his positive play, his future in New Orleans is uncertain as he and the Pelicans didn't agree to an extension before the season started. The Pelicans will have the opportunity to match any outside offer Ball gets in free agency over the offseason. However, if Ball isn't necessarily in their long-term plans, or if they don't think that they're going to want to pay him what other teams might offer, trading him now so that they get something in return -- as opposed to just letting him walk in free agency -- would make some sense.
Clearly, the Clippers think that Ball would be an upgrade over their current point guard rotation that consists of Pat Beverley and Reggie Jackson, despite the fact that Ball doesn't have any postseason experience. The Clippers aren't the only team interested in adding Ball either, as the New York Knicks are also reportedly interested in trading for Ball, or potentially adding him as a free agent after the season.
The Pelicans haven't publicly stated what they plan to do with Ball, but behind the scenes they're certainly mulling over their options. One person who will be very happy if the Pelicans do decide to trade Lonzo is his father, LaVar, who recently made it clear he hopes that the Pelicans move his son.
"No, he can't stay in New Orleans," LaVar said, via USA Today. "Come on, man. Come on, listen. ... Lonzo's always been a playmaker. Why are you trying to change him into a defensive specialist that stays in the corner and shoots 3s? And you're trying to change Zion and Brandon Ingram who, all through their careers, have never been playmakers. Scorers! Now you want to put the ball in their hands and be playmakers? ... Go score the ball and do what you do and guess what? They're gonna have a hard time trying to win every game if the playmaker ain't making the right plays."
It's safe to say that the Pelicans front office won't factor in LaVar's opinion when making a decision regarding Lonzo's future with the franchise, but it will be extremely interesting to see what they decide to do. Ball appears to have a bright future in the league, now it's just a question of if he will continue his career in New Orleans, or elsewhere.