After trade rumors and speculation, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball could end up staying put at the trade deadline after all.
Ball has shown flashes of his potential, as he is coming off a career-high 17-assist game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
In his last 11 games, Ball is averaging 14.9 points and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 39.6 percent from three-point.
The 23-year-old will be a restricted free agent this offseason and executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin might have to make some tough decisions at the trade deadline.
On one side of the Pelicans roster, they have several young players (Zion Williamson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr. and Jaxson Hayes) and on the other side, they have veteran players (JJ Redick, Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams).
Some league insiders wonder if he’s even still a candidate to be traded, though his restricted-free-agent status certainly complicates the situation. Agent Rich Paul will undoubtedly be looking for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft to be given a hefty deal somewhere, and it’s possible Griffin would prefer to move on and free up additional playing time for Lewis and Alexander-Walker, both of whom he drafted in the first round.
“I know he feels pressure to win,” an Eastern Conference executive said of Griffin. “He also really likes all the young players he drafted and wants them to play. I don’t really know how he’s going to bridge that gap.”