According to reports, Chicago Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas mentioned in an interview that Lonzo Ball might not be able to return next season and will continue his rehabilitation instead. Karnisovas also stated that the team's offseason plans will account for Ball's potential absence.
Julian Phillips, whom the Bulls drafted as the 35th overall pick in the second round, is not a point guard. However, the Bulls consider Lonzo Ball to be a core player in the team's rebuilding efforts.
Despite his missed games and his contract set to expire in the summer of 2024, the Bulls have no intentions of trading Ball.
Lonzo Ball signed an $80 million contract with the Chicago Bulls in 2021, spanning four years. Unfortunately, Ball has been sidelined for an extended period due to a perplexing left knee injury.
He has not played since January 2022 and has undergone knee surgery twice during that time. His most recent surgery was a cartilage transplant in March, making it his third knee surgery in just over a year. Karnisovas mentioned that Ball recently stopped using crutches.
After undergoing cartilage surgery in March, Ball expressed his desire to return to the team and the field in a statement released through the team. It is worth noting that there are no reported cases of a player returning to the game after undergoing cartilage transplant surgery.
Lonzo Ball plays a crucial role in the Bulls' team, especially with his organizational and defensive abilities. These factors contributed significantly to the Bulls' successful playoff run in the 2021-2022 season.
Ball's absence due to injury impacted the team's "Big Four" lineup, consisting of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic. Despite their efforts, the Bulls ultimately exited the playoffs, falling short against the Heat.
Given Ball's anticipated return for the upcoming season, it may be challenging for the Bulls to rely solely on this lineup to make a playoff impact. As a result, the team might explore trades to accommodate Ball's return in the future.
In fact, the unfavorable weather conditions in Chicago, being a city with consistent bad weather throughout the year, have been known to discourage some players.
This was evident in the past when superstar players opted against joining the Bulls. Consequently, the Bulls' current strategy is to facilitate a smooth transition before Ball's return.
Thus, aside from the Washington Wizards, the Bulls could be considered another potential trade destination in the league.