Pelicans reportedly decline to extend Lonzo Ball: PG will become restricted free agent next summer

Jason Owens

The New Orleans Pelicans and point guard Lonzo Ball failed to reach an agreement to extend his rookie contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The fourth-year point guard will become a restricted free agent next summer. Wojnarowski, who spoke with Ball’s agent Rich Paul, reports that the two sides “remain positive” they can eventually reach an agreement. The Pelicans will retain the right to match any offer Ball receives in free agency.

The Pelicans acquired Ball last offseason from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Anthony Davis trade. In 63 games, Ball averaged 11.8 points, seven assists and 6.1 rebounds. The shooting woes that have plagued the former No. 2 overall pick since he joined the NBA in 2017 continued in New Orleans.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) plays against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Lonzo Ball will be a restricted free agent next offseason. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Ball continues to struggle as a shooter

Ball shot 40.3 percent from the field and 56.6 percent from the free throw line during his first season with the Pelicans. He did show improvement from distance, hitting 37.5 percent of his 3-point attempts after shooting 32.9 percent from behind the arc his previous season with the Lakers.

The Pelicans are in the midst of roster rebuild around young stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. They traded Jrue Holiday in the offseason to the Milwaukee Bucks for a package including Eric Bledsoe and three first-round draft picks. They’re also entering their first season under new head coach Stan Van Gundy.

With a core of young talent and a stockpile of draft capital, the Pelicans appear more comfortable giving Ball a year with Van Gundy before committing to him long-term.

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