Could Lonzo Ball still be a trade option for the Phoenix Suns?

Lonzo Ball Phoenix Suns (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Lonzo Ball Phoenix Suns (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It’s only game game, but Lonzo Ball is officially the reserve point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers behind veteran Rajon Rondo. Could the Phoenix Suns offer something the Lakers need for their second-year point guard?

It was the issue of the summer: can the Phoenix Suns find a point guard in trade?

The fact that that topic was never fully resolved is likely what cost Ryan McDonough his job.

And so the gaping hole at point guard remains, and while opening night went the Suns’ way, there will be more nights than not when Isaiah Canaan just can not do the job himself.

In California, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the process of revamping their team as well, at the heart of it, LeBron James.

In a way the Suns and Lakers are similar: they both have a young core developed over the past few years of tanking, then mainly through free agency they found veterans to place around that young core.

The similarity ends there though as Phoenix is able to start their two best young players (Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton), while the Lakers now bring who many though to be their best young player, Kyle Kuzma, and former number two overall pick, Lonzo Ball, off the bench.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Kuzma is probably still far too valuable to L.A. to find a way to acquire him (although making the surprise player of the 2017 draft the Suns’ starting power forward would be pretty outstanding), but Ball seems to be falling out of favor, and for good reason:

The kid can’t shoot – which is a problem in the NBA.

He only got 19 minutes on opening night against Portland, recording a -15 in the +/- on 2-7 from the field.

However, he can still do much more as last season he averaged 7.4 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.

Unfortunately for him though, it looks like in the Lakers’ attempt to win now, veteran and former champion Rajon Rondo will be the starter from here on out, leaving the second overall pick from just 16 months ago, coming off the bench.

With LeBron James handling the ball for the majority of the offense anyway, Lonzo is essentially a luxury for the Lakers, a player that unless something dramatic changes, will likely be shopped to add depth in other places.

Lonzo Ball is no longer the next great young player on the Los Angeles Lakers.

He’s almost as big of a bust as Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss.

And yet, he’s an upgrade over who the Suns have, and a change of scenery might actually do him a whole lot of good.

While he could continue to sit on the bench and learn from LeBron James and Co., odds are that he felt a ton of pressure as a rookie to be the next great player for a storied franchise and now feels out of place on the team that was once sold as his.

Certainly the Lakers aren’t going to make any rash moves after one game, but if in a month or two he is still middling around as a reserve, the Suns should make a call (honestly, if I were James Jones I’d make that call today, but I digress).

What they should offer is difficult to speculate because Magic Johnson might still have very high hopes or at least high value for his presumed protege.

But then again, if Lonzo isn’t working out, LeBron isn’t getting any younger, and the discussion over the summer that by choosing L.A. this was going to be a wasted year in his prime, might lead to Magic wanting to make a move or two as soon as they become available to help give his roster as much of a chance as possible to get by Houston or Golden State right away.

Short of Devin Booker, Phoenix can not offer anything that would guarantee that the Lakers could compete with the true Western Conference cream of the crop.

But they can offer depth in the form of a veteran alternative as well as a young player that might help out a lot as well.

Fans have high hopes for Mikal Bridges, but if T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson really have turned their 3-point shooting around, then Bridges, not Warren, might be the extra small forward that Phoenix can use to add depth at another position as many Suns fans expected would be done this summer.

Mikal is young so the Lakers have a piece that can help them in the future, and his 3-and-D game could probably allow him to play right away in some situations, although he didn’t find the court on opening night in Phoenix so who knows – maybe he just isn’t ready yet.

To replace Lonzo at point guard is Isaiah Canaan (who can not be traded until December 15, so if Canaan is involved in this proposal it would have to wait for another two months), a veteran who is just as solid a passer as Ball, but a better shooter.

As a veteran with some playoff experience, he would likely be more valuable in the end of the season than Ball, but how much so could be negligible.

Then Troy Daniels is another veteran who is a sharp-shooter, the kind of player that every playoff-bound team wants and needs on their bench.

With Phoenix it seems that Daniels has been replaced by Jamal Crawford anyway, and with the addition of Lonzo in the starting lineup, Crawford could play in his comfortable place off the bench replacing what Daniels might have given them.

Phoenix’s Depth would look like:

PG: Ball/Okobo
SG: Booker/Crawford
SF: Trevor Ariza/T.J. Warren
PF: Ryan Anderson/Jackson
C: Deandre Ayton/Tyson Chandler

Next. Chanting MVP might be too soon, but expecting All-Star recognition is not, for Devin Booker. dark

Lonzo has just barely started his second year so he still has three full seasons before he becomes a restricted free agent and needs to be re-signed.

He does has difficulty shooting now, although everything else he does is solid for a point guard.

A change of scenery could be good for Lonzo, his father has all but shut up now anyway, and Phoenix can offer both youth and veteran experience to a team hopeful of finding a way to not waste a season of the backside of LeBron’s prime.

If the Lakers would accept, say, Elie Okobo, then the deal could be done right away.

But if a trade of this proposal would be acceptable to them, then waiting two months to solve the point guard problem in Phoenix would be well worth it.