NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The New Orleans Pelicans are sending Lonzo Ball to Chicago and will acquire Charlotte’s Devonte Graham under separate signing and exchange deals, two people with knowledge of the situation said.
The ball trade will send Bulls guards Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple to the Pelicans, and New Orleans will send Charlotte a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2022, people said.
People talked to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because transactions can only become official on Friday according to NBA rules.
Ball is represented by Klutch Sports, who announced that the four-year veteran goalie has accepted a four-year, $ 85 million contract. ESPN first reported the trade, which also sends a second-round draft pick from the Bulls to New Orleans.
Graham had an exceptional year with the Hornets in 2019-20, his second NBA season, averaging 18.2 points and 7.5 assists.
But after the Hornets selected playmaker LaMelo Ball – Lonzo’s younger brother – with the third overall pick in 2020 and Graham was injured, he found himself in a backup role last season. Graham averaged 14.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 30.2 minutes while appearing in 55 games.
Lonzo Ball, a four-year veteran who turns 24 in October and entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, has just completed his most productive season. In his second year with the Pelicans, he averaged career highs in points (14.6 per game) and field goal percentage (41.4) with an average of 5.7 assists. Drafted second overall by the Lakers at UCLA in 2017, Ball has changed his shooting mechanics since moving to New Orleans as part of a successful deal that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
Ball hit a career-high 172 at 3 points last season while also setting a career-high 37.8% of his shots from depth.
Now he’s going from a team with dynamic forward Zion Williamson to joining Olympian Zach LaVine and two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic in a line the Bulls hope to turn into Eastern Conference contenders.
Chicago also agreed to a four-year, $ 37 million contract with Lakers backup goalie Alex Caruso, Agent Greg Lawrence said. Caruso played all four seasons in Los Angeles, averaging 5.9 points while shooting around 43%, and teamed with Lonzo Ball in their first two years.
The Bulls ended the 2020-21 campaign 11th in the East at 31-41, two games behind Charlotte for last place in play. While they missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year, it was their first season with Arturas Karnisovas at the head of the front office and Billy Donovan as the club’s coach.
Graham was also a restricted free agent. He placed 14th in the NBA overall of 3 last season, knocking down 179 shots from beyond the arc as he became the second player in franchise history with more than 175 goals on the 3-point pitch in consecutive seasons.
Kansas’ 2018 second-round pick, Graham played 164 games, including 100 starts, averaging 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 27.7 minutes. In three seasons with the Hornets, Graham has scored 431 3-pointers, which ranks him sixth in franchise history.
The Pelicans’ long-term plans for Satoransky and Temple are unclear. New Orleans basketball operations chief David Griffin has a habit of expanding the initial two-team team swaps to involve more teams and additional asset swaps, as he did it last season when he traded Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. This agreement has expanded to include Denver and Oklahoma City.
Satoransky of the Czech Republic has played five seasons in the NBA – his first three with Washington and the last two with the Bulls. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 assists in 333 games.
Temple is an 11-year LSU veteran who has also played for Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Washington, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn. He has averages of 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans still have two young guards on the roster who were first-round picks – Nickeil Alexander-Walker in 2019 and Kira Lewis Jr. in 2020.
Also, the Pelicans don’t pass their offense through their point guard as often as most teams do. Last season, Williamson thrived in New Orleans’ point-Zion offense, in which the 6-foot-7, 284-pound forward demonstrated he could be effective in initiating dribbling and dribbling games. by manipulating the ball in transition.