Whether the Hornets would make a deal built around Ball is tough to say; even above the LaVar factor, Lonzo is an unusually polarizing prospect because of his extreme strengths and weaknesses. When we did our Insider top 25 players under 25 this season, I ranked Ball in the top 10 while my colleague Bobby Marks didn’t even include him in his top 25 (Chris Herring, the third panelist, had Ball 23rd). Much like FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projections, I regard Ball’s future as bright because of the way he helped the Lakers win while struggling as a shooter during his rookie season. Others see his poor shooting as too much of a hindrance to overcome.cheap nfl jerseys nike china
Already, we’ve heard indications that the San Antonio Spurs aren’t interested in Ball in a Leonard trade (and don’t seem eager to deal with the Lakers, period, but more on that in a second), and a three-way trade with a team more bullish on Ball’s prospects seems like a better option. There’s also the awkwardness here of the Lakers dealing with their former GM Mitch Kupchak, though that shouldn’t prevent a deal if they ultimately present the best offer for Walker.
As the Lakers, whether I’d make this deal would depend on what we saw from Ball next season. His shooting could be particularly problematic if the Lakers are able to add superstars via free agency, but Ball is also more than seven years younger than Walker, a far better defender and still on his rookie contract. Re-signing Walker and Leonard to max deals in the summer of 2019 in this hypothetical would push the Lakers’ salary into the stratosphere, as they’d be paying them, James and George alone more than the projected luxury-tax line for 2019-20.
Nick’s email also presented an idea I haven’t considered enough, that the Lakers could deal for Leonard after using their cap space to sign two max free agents and stretching Luol Deng. He points out that a package of Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Moritz Wagner (not eligible to be traded for 30 days after signing) and the Lakers’ nonguaranteed contracts (Thomas Bryant, Tyler Ennis and Ivica Zubac, all of whose contracts would be guaranteed by that point so as to count for matching purposes) would match Leonard’s salary without the inclusion of Deng, assuming Leonard waived his trade bonus. That’s a much, much better return from San Antonio’s standpoint than the deals I proposed.cheap youth nfl jerseys
The issue here with bringing back all of those players is that if the Lakers do use their cap space on two max free agents, every dollar will be precious in filling out the roster. They would have to believe they have a good chance of trading for Leonard to keep their nonguaranteed players rather than cutting them and using the extra money in free agency. Additionally, San Antonio making a 7-for-1 trade would probably push the Spurs over the 20-player roster limit, requiring other teams to get involved in a deal. So there are significant hurdles to the Lakers’ acquiring Leonard after free agency.