What’s next for Lonzo Ball after failed extension negotiations with Pelicans?
By not agreeing to an extension of the Pelicans until Monday night, Lonzo Ball's path in the future has become much clearer, even if the end result remains unknown. Like team-mate Brandon Ingram last season, Ball will now enter a contract year in which he proves it.
First and foremost, regardless of how this season plays out for Ball, he'll be joining the restricted free agency in the next off-season. Ball's long-term future could very well lie in New Orleans. With Ingram, New Orleans allowed him to join a restricted free agency, but there were never any real rumors that he would leave the franchise before the two sides agreed to a deal.
ESPN's Bobby Marks on Monday discussed players who did not agree to extra time, including Ball. In his play, he estimated a neighborhood salary of $ 16-18 million a year for Ball with a cap of $ 20 million per year.
There will be teams who have the cap to be able to afford ball in the upcoming off-season. The New York Knicks will have the most at $ 66.2 million, while the Thunder will have $ 54 million, although both sides expect they will continue to build teams again next season.
One of the most intriguing teams could be Dallas, which could have a cap of $ 34 million. The Spurs and Toronto, other teams expected to compete, could have respectable $ 48.8 million and $ 21.3 million, respectively.
No team would be more fascinating than the Charlotte Hornets for obvious reasons. Should the franchise forego any of its free agents and not agree to an extension of Devonte ’Graham, they could hit a ceiling of $ 20.6 million, which would be enough to offer Ball a contract.
A total of 11 teams will be capped for the next season, each of which can offer a contract of up to $ 20 million. This seems to be the upper limit of Ball. However, since Ball is entering a restricted free agency, New Orleans has the right to match the bid sheet even if the teams can afford to offer Ball a contract.
Even the teams who can afford Ball's likely contract would have to make some decisions. While a team like Dallas could afford Ball, would they want to use most of their space on Ball? Multiple teams must also ask similar questions.
Ultimately, the only way for teams to pull restricted free agents away from the established teams is to overpay them. In Ball's case, that would likely mean a contract north of $ 20 million that would quickly reduce the number of teams that could be in the running.
It all paints a scenario where Ball is likely to stay in New Orleans, much like Ingram did last off-season. It could also be why the Pelicans are patiently proceeding with Ball in the hopes that they can sign him for a cheaper price this summer.
ESPN's Bobby Marks predicts a free agent contract for Lonzo Ball of $ 16 million to $ 18 million per year
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