The Golden State Warriors were amongst several teams linked to Lonzo Ball last month and the latest NBA trade rumors suggest they turned down a chance to land him. Ball is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season and the New Orleans Pelicans were willing to part ways with him.
Former Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut discussed the details of a Lonzo Ball-Kelly Oubre Jr. swap deal that the Dubs reportedly turned down. Bogut mentioned the following on the Rogue Bogues podcast:
"I have it on good authority that they had an offer actually for Lonzo Ball and I think a throw-in, a pick, for Oubre and the Warriors turned it down funnily enough. But I thought that was a pretty good deal to shed some salary and get a pick back."
Both Kelly Oubre Jr. and Lonzo Ball have similar scoring numbers this season. But the latter is two years younger, a better playmaker and arguably a better three-point shooter.
Both will be free agents this summer, but Lonzo's restricted status would've allowed the Golden State Warriors a greater deal of control over where he ends up.
NBA Trade Rumors: Why didn't Golden State Warriors accept the Lonzo Ball offer for Kelly Oubre?
In case Bogut's report is true, probably the simplest reason why the Golden State Warriors would've decided against such a move is their finances. The Warriors already have $160 million in committed salaries for the 2021-22 season. Lonzo Ball could easily command $18-20 million annually in free agency and that would be tough to match for the front office.
There's an argument to be made that the Golden State Warriors could get back an asset in a sign-and-trade for Ball. But they can do the same for Kelly Oubre because they own his Bird Rights.
As far as the on-court aspect is concerned, Oubre is still a vital player for the Golden State Warriors. Even though Lonzo Ball is more efficient from the field currently, there's enough precedent from his career so far that he isn't the best at acclimatizing to new surroundings immediately. That's critical for the Warriors considering they're still in the playoffs race.