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This is how a Lonzo Ball trade to the New York Knicks might look

Vincent Frank
2021 NBA free agents: Lonzo Ball
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been at the forefront of NBA trade rumors leading up to the March 25 deadline. That includes a potential Lonzo Ball trade. Most recently, indications are that president Leon Rose and Co. are targeting Houston Rockets shooting guard Victor Oladipo.

Oladipo would make sense for New York. Rookie first-round pick Immanuel Quickley has performed at an exceptional level while pairing with fellow point guard, the recently-acquired Derrick Rose. That’s why rumors of the Knicks’ interest in Ball are a bit perplexing.

Marc Berman of the NY Post took this on in a recent column. The points he made were rather interesting. While doubling down on Knicks rumors suggesting interest in Oladipo, the insider reported that New York is also in on Ball.

Read More: NBA trade rumors: Latest updates leading up to the March 25 deadline

New York Knicks interested in Lonzo Ball trade

New York Knicks rumors: Lonzo Ball trade
Mar 1, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) has the ball knocked free by Utah Jazz during the first half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

“According to a source who has been in contact with Knicks brass, the franchise still is unsure if the team has a surefire starting point guard,” Berman reported. “As electric as rookie Immanuel Quickley has been, they still think he could be a sixth-man stud or start as an off-the-ball guard in the right alignment. That is why the Knicks have always kept an eye on Hornets point guard Terry Rozier and young Pelicans playmaker Lonzo Ball.”

At 6-foot-3, Quickley might seem a bit too undersized to take on a traditional two-guard role. The presence of fellow wing R.J. Barrett, who is in the midst of a solid season, adds another layer to this.

As for a potential Lonzo Ball deal, it’s clear that the New Orleans Pelicans have him on the block ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline. He’s an impending restricted free agent and might not have a long-term future with the struggling organization.

New York wants to find a happy medium between continuing its surprising 2020-21 season and building more for the future. The 24-year-old Ball could be the best of both worlds.

After some initial struggles this season, the former No. 2 pick has turned it around big time. He averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists on 44% shooting from distance in 17 games leading up to the All-Star Break. Ball’s ability to distribute and play plus-level defense would be a major asset for a New York Knicks team that ranks No. 1 in the NBA in points allowed.

The question now becomes how might a Lonzo Ball trade to the New York Knicks look. They are not going to part ways with Quickley. The idea would be to team the two up together in the backcourt for years to come. Barrett would man the three with All-Star Julius Randle playing the four and injured big man Mitchell Robinson returning to play center.

Read More: 4 ideal Lonzo Ball trade scenarios

How would a Lonzo Ball trade to the New York Knicks look?

Knicks rumors: Lonzo Ball trade?
Dec 31, 2020; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) celebrates after forward Zion Williamson (1) scores against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

There’s certainly some questions about Ball’s value on the NBA trade market. He’s been an inconsistent figure since the Los Angeles Lakers made him the No. 2 overall pick back in 2017.

With that said, he is in the midst of a career season and could be seen as a franchise building block. Despite Ball’s status as an impending restricted free agent, New Orleans is not going to give him away for nothing. The idea would be to add to the capital the team received in the Anthony Davis deal, which included Ball heading to Nola in the first place.

Here’s a look at what a Ball deal to New York might look like.

  • Knicks get: Lonzo Ball, 2021 second-round pick (from Sacramento)
  • Pelicans get: Marvin Bagley III, Frank Ntilikina, 2021 first-round pick (from New York)
  • Kings get: Obi Toppin, Josh Hart

From New York’s perspective, yielding rookie lottery pick Obi Toppin would be a bitter pill to swallow. However, he does not fit into the starting five moving forward under this scenario. Acquiring a big name like Ball while solving New York’s backcourt issues for the foreseeable future would be worth it.

The Knicks also send the less favorable of their own first-round pick and the Mavericks’ top-30 selection to New Orleans in order for the Pelicans to bite.

As for the Kings, they pick up a high-upside young power forward to replace Bagley III. Remember, he’s firmly on the block and could be moved ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Bagley could also be an interesting option for New Orleans to pair with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in the frontcourt. At 6-foot-11, he could even play small ball center.

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