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How can the Kings acquire Lonzo Ball?

According to Shams Charania, the young guard will not have a large offer matched by the New Orleans Pelicans.

On Tuesday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic dropped a barrel full of interesting tidbits for Sacramento Kings fans. He mentioned the continued availability of All-Star Ben Simmons and up-and-coming point guard Collin Sexton, but it was the revelation that the New Orleans Pelicans would not be matching a large offer sheet to Lonzo Ball that should pique Monte McNair's interest.

Perhaps more than any other non-Kings player, Lonzo Ball generates a tidal wave of controversial discourse within the Sacramento fan base. As an overhyped, LA-based collegiate star and draft rival of De'Aaron Fox, Ball's struggles with the Los Angeles Lakers were understandably celebrated. He couldn't shoot, struggled against more physical defenders, and was eventually included as one of the pieces in the Anthony Davis trade, despite being labeled a game-changer when he entered the league.

However, since joining the New Orleans Pelicans, Lonzo has completely reinvented major parts of his game. He's now a near-elite three-point shooter, having knocked down 38% of his 8.3 attempts per game last season, and Ball has also been showing off a revamped shooting form this summer. His base skillset, excellent court vision, is still very much in play, while he's also grown into a strong perimeter stopper. All of those wonderful things being said, Lonzo is far from perfect, especially with his struggles at the rim and in the mid-range, as well as his tendency to disappear for stretches. Yet, he's a 23-year old volume three-point marksman who can pass and defend, two elements that the Kings desperately need to add to this roster. Even if Ball himself isn't the exact player someone may desire, he represents the exact type of young, developing contributor that the Kings should consider targeting this offseason.

Assuming that Monte McNair is interested in adding Ball as a starting wing or as a perfect bench complement to De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, he has a bit of a complicated path toward adding his services. The Kings will likely operate above the cap this offseason, maxing their spending money at about $9 million with the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, far below Lonzo's expected payday. Sacramento's only realistic solution for that problem lies in a sign-and-trade.

Any sign-and-trade scenario, whether that's with Lonzo Ball, Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, or any other player, is not as easy as simply matching salaries for each team, as would be normal with a standard trade. That's due to Base Year Compensation.

In the event that a team over the cap wishes to execute a sign-and-trade, that player's salary will be counted differently for the two involved teams. For the team signing the player, in this case, the Kings, Ball's salary would count as whatever he was signed for, as would be expected. However, for the Pelicans, his salary would account for only 50% of his new salary, or his previous season's salary, whichever is greater. Those restrictions greatly complicate what would normally be a basic transaction.

In Lonzo's case, let's say that the Kings make him an offer with a starting salary of $18 million. On their books, Sacramento will have added $18 million straight up. For the Pelicans, Lonzo's exiting salary would be $11 million, his previous season’s salary, as that's greater than half of his new salary. The two logical trade pieces that the Kings could send back would be either Buddy Hield or Marvin Bagley, but neither player works in a one-to-one deal. Bagley makes far too little to fall within the required $5 million, plus $100,000 threshold for the Kings, while Buddy's $23 million is far too much for New Orleans to take on. Both teams need to add a smattering of players to the deal to make the numbers work under the CBA. Here are a couple of trades that work financially.

Trade 1

Kings In: Lonzo Ball ($18M), Steven Adams ($17M), Wenyen Gabriel ($1.7M)
Kings Out: Buddy Hield ($23M), Marvin Bagley III ($11M)
Total Cash In: $34.7 million
Total Cash Out: $34 million

Pelicans In:  Buddy Hield ($23M), Marvin Bagley III ($11M)
Pelicans Out: Lonzo Ball ($11M), Steven Adams ($17M), Wenyen Gabriel ($1.7M)
Total Cash In: $34 million
Total Cash Out: $29.7 million

Why the Kings do it: This is an interesting deal for Sacramento, although it may be a bit of a tough pill to swallow when considering Steven Adams' overpaid contract. However, if the Kings believe that Richaun Holmes is likely walking in free agency, which seems more likely by the day, Adams as a replacement isn't a worst-case scenario. Adding him alongside Lonzo would grant the Kings guard depth and a starting center, without forcing them to spend their MLE on a replacement big man for Holmes. They could instead use that cash on a backup wing or further center depth.

Why the Pelicans do it: With Zion Williamson leading the way as their young star, the Pelicans desperately need to surround him with shooting, and they weren't able to accomplish that in 2020. New Orleans ranked 27th in made three-pointers and 26th in three-point percentage. Hield would provide proven, high-volume marksmanship, while Marvin Bagley is a gamble that might pay off as another young piece in their Ingram-Williamson core. Frankly, New Orleans getting anything of value for a player they don't want to pay is a win.

Trade 2

Kings In: Lonzo Ball ($18M), Jaxson Hayes ($5.3M)
Kings Out: Marvin Bagley III ($11M), Delon Wright ($8.5M)
Total Cash In: $23.5 million
Total Cash Out: $19.5 million

Pelicans In: Marvin Bagley III ($11M), Delon Wright ($8.5M)
Pelicans Out: Lonzo Ball ($11M), Jaxson Hayes ($5.3M)
Total Cash In: $19.5 million
Total Cash Out: $16.3 million

Why the Kings do it: Sacramento sheds less salary in this deal, but they also don't have to take on Adams' large contract. Lonzo is the start of the deal, but swapping Hayes for Bagley gives Sacramento another big, young prospect who hasn't quite worked out. Losing Delon would cost the Kings a fan favorite, but replacing his minutes with Lonzo's contributions would be a significant upgrade for the roster.

Why the Pelicans do it: The Pelicans maybe don't get as much value in this deal, but they do get essentially a free look at Marvin Bagley, while Delon Wright provides solid point guard player off of the bench, a key ingredient for a team wanting to make the postseason next year.

Of course, there is one final element to consider in a Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade, and that's Lonzo himself. No matter what salaries or assets the Kings and the Pelicans could theoretically swap, Ball must want to come to Sacramento before any deal can take place. Other teams may offer more cash or a guaranteed starting spot, and even if not, the presence of Luke Walton may be enough to dissuade Lonzo from taking a Kings offer. It's certainly not impossible for the Kings to acquire Lonzo Ball, but it will be far more complicated than a typical one-to-one player swap.

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OG_Aggie
July 14, 2021 8:08 am

Is Luke Walton viewed as negatively around the league as he is here?

andy_sims
July 14, 2021 8:32 am
Reply to  OG_Aggie

Yes, but only by people.

July 14, 2021 9:19 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Not true. G1C security robots aren’t programmed to keep losing teams safe.

andy_sims
July 14, 2021 9:37 am

So I guess that the robots also suck at their jobs.

MadDam
July 15, 2021 1:58 pm
Reply to  OG_Aggie

Is there more to this “rub” between our Luke and Mr. Ball?

jwalker1395
July 14, 2021 8:25 am

I’d pull the trigger on either of these deals in a heartbeat

rc50cal
July 14, 2021 6:16 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

Change his last name, and I’m in for trade 1.

aplumley
July 14, 2021 8:26 am

I’m not anti-Lonzo, but I don’t see the fit. I’m not sure how the Kings get $18M of value out of him with Tyrese and Fox already hoarding the bulk of the guard minutes. I get that Lonzo can play wing, but that’s not where he’s most valuable. Having players play out of position or as backups isn’t how you get your money’s worth. I just don’t see it. Collins and Markenen, or even zinger make more intuitive sense.

PretendGhost
July 14, 2021 12:50 pm
Reply to  aplumley

I think the fit could be very good. Ball is a good 3 and D player who is lengthy and switchable, and also provides much needed skill as a 3rd ball handler/playmaker. He can play on or off ball, just like Fox and Haliburton, while providing more grit and rebounding and occupying fewer possessions. Just imagine, for a moment, one of his pristine outlet passes with Fox and Haliburton on the receiving end.

Alongside Barnes, that’s 4 guys who can hit from outside, make good passes, and switch across multiple positions. Add in Adams, who gobbles up rebounds, sets great screens, and can hold down the paint on defense, and you have an imposing 5-man lineup, with at least 1 quality guy off the bench in Wright.

Last edited 21 days ago by PretendGhost
Ifeanyi
July 15, 2021 12:21 pm
Reply to  aplumley

I agree, I don’t see the fit. Lonzo does a lot of great things but his peak value to a team is when he has the ball in his hands. I wouldn’t like trying to pass him off as 3 either. I feel like New Orleans has been playing him out of position for the last two years really.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
July 14, 2021 8:28 am

Stein is now reporting that the Lakers are interested in bringing Lonzo back. I’d have to think he’d prefer to go home than come to Sacramento. IMO, Kings would need to overpay to get Lonzo to come to Sac.

Kosta
July 14, 2021 1:20 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I hope the L*kers are interested in bringing Walton back as well. Toss in Magic Johnson for the trifecta!

BasketballHella
July 14, 2021 9:35 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The kings will need to overpay anyone to come to this dumpster fire. Has been true for years before this latest version of the new dumpster.

1951
July 14, 2021 8:28 am

Do I comment based on rationality or emotion? Probably very different responses to this notion!

Kingsguru21
July 14, 2021 8:32 am

Ah, the joy of trying to explain BYC.

Although I’m not really sure what ther point of acquiring Lonzo Ball is. Other than using it as a think piece to illustrate how these things work in the real world.

1951
July 14, 2021 8:35 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Improve talent level overall, and more specifically defensive and playmaking talent.

Kingsguru21
July 14, 2021 8:45 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

Meh.

Kingsguru21
July 14, 2021 8:48 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

At least you know how to do fake trades. I consider that a win onto itself.

Marty
July 14, 2021 9:32 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Totally.

Maybe one of the most frustrating parts of being a Kings fan is discussing how to make the Kings better, while they actively make everything worse. I fully expect Monte to flame out and end up as an an assistant GM in Chicago.

1951
July 14, 2021 8:48 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

No. He is meth.

July 14, 2021 9:09 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

I thought I was your meh?

1951
July 14, 2021 8:48 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Perfect description of our current roster.

Increasing talent level good. Not increasing talent level bad. (That’s the extent of my basketball knowledge though, so I hope it’s appreciated! 😉 )

RikSmits
July 14, 2021 9:01 am
Reply to  1951

Meh.

1951
July 14, 2021 9:03 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Metu.

Wilson
July 14, 2021 12:50 pm
Reply to  1951

Mehtu.

Kingsguru21
July 14, 2021 9:14 am
Reply to  1951

What it screams to me is that there is desperation to make a move, not create forward progress for a roster that badly needs it.

MichaelMack
July 14, 2021 9:33 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Agreed. I get concerned about activity without accomplishment.

I think Ball is a very competent player, but at 23 I hardly think he would want to be the sixth man on the Kings when he will have starting jobs available to him.

jwalker1395
July 14, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  MichaelMack

I am of the belief that Lonzo can be a starting wing next to Hali and Fox, and a backup initiator when they’re off the floor. He’s got the size, athleticism, length, IQ and defensive acumen to switch 1-3, can knock down the 3 ball when called upon, and make the right play when the ball comes to him. He’s demonstrated he can play off-ball alongside ball-dominant players like Ingram and Zion, he’s on the same timeline as Fox-Hali and has demonstrated steady improvement since coming into the league, and he comes at a lower price tag than Buddy whose spot he’d be taking. He’s a little undersized for the 3 spot, but so was Buddy when we played him there next to Fox, Hali, Barnes, and Holmes and that was one of the best lineups in the league last season. I like it a lot and see this as a great buy low opportunity. Especially when you consider the pieces we’d be moving – Bagley and Hield – who are in a vacuum probably worth a couple seconds and a mediocre young backup. I’d take Ball and Adams over that haul any day.

Last edited 21 days ago by Jacob Walker
1951
July 14, 2021 10:45 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Fox
Hali
Ball
Barnes
Holmes

That’s not a desperation closing line up. It’s an improvement.

Now, if you can improve better than that, then you do it. But if you can’t there is no reason not to improve by acquiring Lonzo based on these proposed trades.

BasketballHella
July 14, 2021 9:41 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Welcome to the 2021-22 kings. For the first time in a long time they feel genuine pressure to make a move. Odds are it will be the wrong one. With the stench of desperation in the air around them it’s almost guaranteed to be the wrong one.

I think the chips will fall very very quickly once the finals are over. Draft night could be an epic swap fest like we haven’t seen in years. Several pissed stars could change hands in weeks.

Thinking that the kangz will come out on top of that feeding frenzy is almost insane to say the least.

But in a sadistic way I haven’t been soo interested in a kangz offseason in years.

Gonna find out if monte is a chump or champ real fast at this rate which is good. No more Vlade hiding.

1951
July 14, 2021 8:32 am

Also, Tim clearly doesn’t appreciate the value in uniting Team Bagley with Team Ball!

Adding Lavar Ball only works as smoothly as the chaos of building a dinosaur amusement park if you keep Marvin Bagley the second!

andy_sims
July 14, 2021 8:44 am

Any team that offers Markkanen a substantial deal can have him. The guy is soft, and that’s the absolute last thing that Sacramento needs.

I’m ambivalent about a move to acquire Ball, mainly because he doesn’t play a position where the Kings are thin. For now, the Kings have DWright, and while he isn’t as good as Ball, he provides a lot of the same skills for what will likely be half the price of Lonzo.

The proposed deals are interesting, although I think that Jaxson Hayes may be a punk. I’m going to get a coffee, and come back later to say something even dumber.

1951
July 14, 2021 8:49 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I have been life busy lately, so there has been a slight reduction in dumb comments on this site in recent weeks/months!

RikSmits
July 14, 2021 9:01 am
Reply to  1951

No worries, I was here.

Marty
July 14, 2021 9:34 am
Reply to  1951

I feel the same way. Uncle Marty is getting a divorce and as a result he’s losing weight at an alarming rate. Double win!

Last edited 21 days ago by Marty Marty
Carl
July 14, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Marty

Uncle Marty is getting a divorce

F’n Greg!

.
(Best wishes on this. It’s always tough no matter the circumstances.)

Last edited 21 days ago by Carl
Marty
July 14, 2021 12:13 pm
Reply to  Carl

My neighbors said they kept seeing an 89 Chevy Cavalier in the driveway but I didn’t want to believe it.

Gregoryl
July 14, 2021 8:44 am

I had forgotten abt the Ball/Walton issues…can we trade Luke for Lavar?

andy_sims
July 14, 2021 8:45 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

The beauty of pessimism is that you’re confident that things can get worse.

RobHessing
July 14, 2021 8:49 am
Reply to  andy_sims

One man’s pessimism is another man’s realism. Ask anyone that has watched this team make the playoffs 28% of the time since coming to Sacramento (league average is 53%).

RobHessing
July 14, 2021 8:52 am
Reply to  RobHessing

And during the Ranadive era?

A54E87AD-C743-49F2-8377-F21E3857392A.gif
Carl
July 14, 2021 11:30 am
Reply to  RobHessing

28% is a lot more than I would have thought. Are you even sure that’s right?

RobHessing
July 14, 2021 11:32 am
Reply to  Carl

27.8% – I rounded up. 10 out of 36. 19 out of 36 would be average.

Carl
July 14, 2021 11:34 am
Reply to  RobHessing

We’ve actually made the playoffs 10 times? I would have thought it was around 7!

Low bar is low, as this guy section214 used to say.

Last edited 21 days ago by Carl
Kosta
July 14, 2021 12:12 pm
Reply to  Carl

Here’s how I remember (it’s easy, with such a low number of instances!)

  • Inaugural Season.
  • Rattle Seattle.
  • All 8 years Adelman was coach.
King4life
July 14, 2021 9:08 am

Why would Lonzo Ball come to the Kings to be the 3rd PG on the roster when he could go be a starting PG on the Knicks or Bulls? Didn’t the Suns 3 pg experiment a few years to prove that you can have too many lead guards? I get that Lonzo isn’t a traditional PG but I doubt he’ll want to be in the shadow of Fox and Haliburton.

NorCalKingsFan
July 14, 2021 6:36 pm
Reply to  King4life

He doesn’t have to play point the whole time, and it would allow the Kings to take one or two of the three (Fox/Hali/Ball) out of the game and you still have playmaker on the court.

Last edited 21 days ago by NorCalKingsFan
July 14, 2021 9:09 am

I’d do this just to make Lonzo Fox’s backup. He’d get to break Lonzo’s spirit in practice daily! Count me in.

AmateurNerd
July 14, 2021 9:31 am

I’m open to getting Ball because he is a high-BBIQ player, and the Kings desperately need more players who just know how to play the game. That said, it would make for one very crowded backcourt. Intrigued, but far from sold.

July 14, 2021 9:36 am

So, wait, if Lonzo is a “near-elite” shooter, what does that make Buddy Hield then Tim??? HUH!?

Are you saying Buddy IS AN ELITE SHOOTER!?

TAKE THAT ONE GIRAFFE.

July 14, 2021 10:07 am
Reply to  LLcoolRay

But seriously, I do either of those trades pretty quickly.

Losing Delon Wright would hurt a bit because I thought he was a great compliment to this team – but putting Lonzo in his role would be huge.

Also, not a huge fan of paying Steven Adams that amount but we also wouldn’t have to overpay Holmes long-term either.

For once I like the trades that ol’ Timothy has come up with. Well done.

PlayoffModeT
July 14, 2021 10:05 am

I’d be down for acquiring Lonzo.

Fox and Haliburton have shown they can succeed off the ball, no pun intended. We get another young piece that can shoot, play defense, and pass. I would probably go for Adams to replace Holmes and hope he can return to form. GERTTHH!

Resign Davis for 5-6M and now Delon Wright can be a trade chip. I do think you can play Lonzo, Fox, and Haliburton together.

Not sure how the Walton/Ball dynamic works.

PlayoffModeT
July 14, 2021 5:18 pm
Reply to  PlayoffModeT

Adding:

Going after Lonzo and possibly saving our draft picks. We could use pick 9 and next years to move up for someone like Scottie Barnes or Evan Mobley?

ZillersCat
July 14, 2021 11:01 am

I’m actually more excited about getting Lonzo over Ben Simmons. Free Agency is better than giving up asset from a bare pantry.

RobHessing
July 14, 2021 11:17 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

I like Simmons, but to your point I probably prefer these deals to adding multiple picks for Simmons. It’s close, though.

jctar
July 14, 2021 4:18 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’d give Fox and 9 for Simmons if we could get Ball. Ball would make Fox expendable.

9sac8
July 14, 2021 6:53 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

If Simmons come to Sac, he’s our Draymond Green. And he’s not allowed to play any other position but the 4.

andy_sims
July 15, 2021 8:43 am
Reply to  9sac8

I think that he’d be playing the fore, since there would be a scramble for safety when he actually took a shot.

Kosta
July 14, 2021 11:21 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

I’d rather hang on to Fox and Haliburton, so that likely means that Lonzo over Simmons is a more realistic trade for us.

jctar
July 14, 2021 4:13 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

I want Ball and Simmons. Why not both?

andy_sims
July 15, 2021 8:44 am
Reply to  jctar

As long as your front court guys get you 70-80 points per game, that’s rock-solid.

Wilson
July 14, 2021 12:55 pm

I hope we get Ball – Good rebounder, passer, defender, 3-pt shooter, and high bbiq. I doubt he would want to be here, but either of those trades make the team better.

I doubt it happens.

Kosta
July 14, 2021 1:23 pm
Reply to  Wilson

If he doesn’t come to Sacramento, I will presume he’s ducking Fox.

jctar
July 14, 2021 4:03 pm

If we could get Ball that would make me think about a Fox and our 1st (or pick swap) for Simmons. Defensively Simmons, Ball, and Haliburton would be fun to watch, and they all could start together.

NorCalKingsFan
July 14, 2021 6:30 pm

Trade #2 please.

BasketballHella
July 14, 2021 9:45 pm

I’m honestly open for any trade that sends out bad contracts and actually brings back something of value. I mean true value not just in the eyes of 🤙🏼-con.

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