The New Orleans Pelicans had mixed fortunes last year. Despite struggling to 13th position in the West, their season was concentrated more on the progression of their young stars. Brandon Ingram had a breakout year while Lonzo Ball continued to improve at point guard. However, the latter will be entering the 2021 NBA Free Agency next year and will be looking at this season as an opportunity to prove his worth.
Though hampered by injury, Pelicans fans were also able to see early signs of what much-anticipated rookie Zion Williamson was capable of. Ahead of the new season, if the Pelicans are able to keep these three fit, the franchise can push up the standings in the West.
Lonzo Ball may see this as a make or break season after the point guard failed to reach an agreement with the club over an extension of his contract. Therefore, lets have a look at where Ball could land if he were to move out of New Orleans in the next offseason.
5 Teams that could benefit from point guard Lonzo Ball when he enters the 2021 NBA Free Agency
#1 Dallas Mavericks
There is no doubt the Dallas Mavericks are one of the most enticing prospects this season. Around the league, analysts have tipped them to finish among the elite in the West, led by MVP-candidate Luka Doncic. The Slovenian is a versatile guard though could be moved back to shooting guard if the Mavs were keen to bring in Lonzo Ball in 2021 NBA Free Agency.
Depending on Lonzo Ball's development this season, Dallas could see the 23-year-old as the third piece to go alongside Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. If Ball has a career-high season, his expected salary of up to $20 million could be the perfect fit for the Mavs franchise. With Doncic the offensive leader, Ball could be utilized in an accommodating role to support the two Dallas superstars.
#2 Charlotte Hornets
Understandably the most intriguing destination for Lonzo Ball in 2021 NBA Free Agency would be the Charlotte Hornets. The franchise just picked up his brother, LaMelo Ball, 3rd in this year's draft and the two could link up to form the franchise's backcourt of the future.
In order to bring in Lonzo, the Hornets would have to renounce its free agents and not extend Devonte' Graham's contract. Graham averaged 18 points and 7 assists last season while Ball averaged the same assists but with 11 points. Despite this, Graham took 5 extra shots per game on average than Ball and shot at a lower effective percentage.
There is no doubt Lonzo Ball has improved his shooting over the past year, an aspect of his game sharpshooting teammate J.J. Redick discussed during the offseason. This has led many to tip Ball as an early contender for Most Improved Player this season after his teammate Ingram picked up the award in 2020.