Bulls bring on Lonzo for $85M, Caruso for $37M

NBA

The Chicago Bulls and point guard Lonzo Ball are landing on a four-year, $85 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans, Ball’s agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.

For the Bulls, Ball slots in at a guard spot where he can grow around Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic as Chicago tries to take the next step to be competitive in the Eastern Conference.

As New Orleans shifted more to allowing Zion Williamson to run point in the offense, Ball’s role for the Pelicans became that of an off-ball wing who could control the offense in the open court and cede duties to Williamson in the half court. He’ll have the opportunity to get back to controlling things more with Chicago.

Ball, 23, has had an up-and-down four seasons since entering the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. It was hard to live up to sky-high expectations right away in Los Angeles but once he got to New Orleans, things started to settle down. As a part of the Anthony Davis trade, Ball found new shooting life with the Pelicans. After shooting 31.5 percent from deep and 43.7 percent from the line in his two seasons with the Lakers, Ball has since upped those numbers to 37.6 percent and 66.4 percent.

In 2020-21, he averaged career highs from three-point percentage (.378), field-goal percentage (.414), free-throw percentage (.781), true shooting percentage (.551) and points per game (14.6).

He also protected the ball like never before with a career-low 14.5 turnover percentage while his usage percentage was also at a career high (20.5).

Ball has struggled with injury issues throughout his young career and has yet to play a full season in the NBA. He missed 65 games in his first two seasons with Los Angeles and a combined 26 in the last two years with New Orleans.

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