Teams across the NBA are running out of time with the league’s trade deadline approaching on March 25th. However, this is the perfect time for fans to indulge in the numerous NBA rumors flying around. The latest rumors, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, stem around the Atlanta Hawks’ rising interest in Lonzo Ball. Second-year wing Cam Reddish sits in the center of this rumored trade package. Let’s dive in.
NBA Rumors: Hawks Offer Cam Reddish for Lonzo Ball
While Reddish remains sidelined with an Achilles injury, that doesn’t keep his name off of the NBA rumors boards. According to these recent reports, the Hawks are willing to move Reddish in exchange for Ball. Of course, that depends if the New Orleans Pelicans are willing.
At first glance, this trade package, which may include a money exchange or exchange of draft collateral, makes sense for both sides. Both Reddish and Ball are highly-rated prospects both very early on in their respective careers. Reddish, a small forward from Duke University, has played relatively up to expectations in his two years of NBA experience. Prior to his injury, Reddish averaged 11.2 points, four rebounds, and 1.3 assists per contest this season.
Ball, on the other hand, has suffered slightly from the unreal expectations this league hands on a No. 2 draft selection. The Los Angeles Lakers grabbed Ball with the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He found a home in New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade. While Ball hasn’t earned an All-Star selection, he’s an elite passer and capable scorer. His defense has also improved. This season, Ball is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on 42.5 percent shooting from the field.
It’s easy to wonder why the Pelicans would be willing to move off such a promising young talent like Ball.
Are Pelicans Willing to Move off Ball?
Ball’s availability remains the biggest deciding factor in these latest NBA rumors. He’s been one of the hottest potential trade candidates approaching this year’s deadline. And, there’s a couple of sound reasons why.
For starters, Ball is approaching restricted free agency after this season ends. It’s been reported that he’s seeking upwards of $20 million per year in his next contract. Of course, with his restricted status, New Orleans will have first grabs if they decide to keep him. This means that the Pelicans front office will have to at least match any potential offers he gets on the market. If not, they risk losing him completely, and for nothing.
The Pelicans are also in a unique position with the totality of their roster. It’s quite clear that off the young and upcoming superstar trio of Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson, that Ball is the odd man out. If forced to decide, the Pelicans would be keener to keep Ingram and Williamson.
It makes sense for the Pelicans to immediately find a home and trade-return for Ball. New Orleans, despite this trio of young stars, sits four games under .500 and on the outside of the playoff field looking in. Despite the talent, this team struggles to win in the stacked Western Conference. It makes more sense now than ever before to find a promising return for one of their young stars. Ball is the most expendable of the three.
Cam Reddish and Lonzo Ball Fits
In all honesty, this rumored trade provides a much better short-term option for the Hawks. Currently, Atlanta sits fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 22-21 record. They’re more than six games out of the third spot but are just 2.5 games above a spot that misses out on the playoffs. Ball changes all of this.
Picturing Ball, who plays as a low-touch point guard, alongside the deadly-shooting from Trae Young and the talented trio of forwards and bigs is a scary proposition. This lineup would surely climb towards the top of the Eastern Conference and would be a nightmare for teams to defend in the playoffs.
On the other side, a talented young prospect like Reddish is a much better return for New Orleans than the potential of losing Ball for nothing. Reddish is still very young at 21-years-old and has plenty of time to continue his development. He’s not an elite athlete in terms of other wings in the league, but he’s got solid length and the ability to move up and down the court.
Reddish’s three-point shooting should continue to improve, providing him a floor of at least a reliable three-and-D player. He also plays well with the ball in his hand and will continue to develop as a pick-and-roll offensive threat. The Pelicans could take a chance on his development while waiting for Williamson to develop into a true superstar and face of this league.
Verdict on Cam Reddish Trade
After examining the latest NBA rumors involving a Reddish-Ball swap, this deal makes a lot of sense for both sides. Atlanta turns into a true championship contender in the East while the Pelicans receive a talented return for the impending departure of Ball.
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