The Knicks have more resources than most other NBA teams. Some of these draft and young player picks are held in greater consideration than others. There is no doubt that Lonzo Ball has raised his shares since the beginning of the season. He has averaged 14.3 points and 6.3 assists per game in his last 10 games. However, it is unclear whether the Pelicans would like to keep it for the long term.
The Pelicans have taken point guard Kira Lewis Jr. with 13th pick in The 2020 NBA Draft, and they feel like he has the potential to be the point guard for the team of the future. The Pelicans are in a similar position to the Knicks where they are looking to rebuild around their young talent while remaining competitive in the playoff contest. They have their hands full in the Western Conference.
For New York, they would give up on a young Frank Ntilikina player who struggled to find a consistent place in the rotation. Ntilikina has certainly shone at a few moments, especially recently with Knicks injuries, but it’s clear the team will never assign him to a prominent role as a starting point guard.
Forgoing a protected selection in the first round may seem like a high draft pick, but the Knicks would invest in a 23-year-old player just entering his prime and could have a positive influence on all the young talent around him.
Lonzo Ball would certainly cost quite a bit of change for a contract extension, but it wouldn’t be in the maximum contract range. A rough estimate of a Lonzo Ball contract extension would be around 3-4 years, 13-17 million per year. The Knicks would have locked up a young point guard whose game has moved on and has not yet reached the limit. Ball would have a positive impact on New York in more ways than one.