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Clippings: The Clippers remain interested in Lonzo Ball

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The guard is a restricted free agent this offseason.

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At the trade deadline, it was widely rumored that the Clippers were looking for an additional playmaker to round out their roster. The Clippers ended up trading for Rajon Rondo, but not before a brief dalliance with the Pelicans regarding Lonzo Ball.

Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Clippers are once again expected to be interested in Ball, who is a restricted free agent, during the offseason. However, it will prove as challenging to acquire Ball now as it was back in March.

During the 2020-21 regular season, the Clippers didn’t really have the assets to acquire Ball. They had some second-rounders courtesy of the Luke Kennard trade, but nothing else of interest to New Orleans, unless they were willing to surrender Terance Mann or Ivica Zubac. That obviously didn’t happen.

Now, the Clippers have financial constraints. They don’t have any cap space to sign Ball to an offer sheet, so they’d have to acquire the guard via a sign-and-trade. That would put a hard cap on the Clippers, and since their salary already exceeds the luxury tax, that would require shedding Marcus Morris Sr. and Patrick Beverley. It’s unclear why the Pelicans would be interested in that sort of deal.

Even if the Pelicans relinquished Ball’s restricted rights, which rarely happens with talented young players (Julius Randle was a rare exception because the Lakers needed salary cap space the summer they signed LeBron James), the Clippers still wouldn’t have the money to offer Ball a competitive deal.

L.A.’s interest in Ball indicates that the team still has concerns about its lead guard position. But the Clippers will have to address those some other way, because the resources they have will not get Ball to come home.

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