If and not when could be the new general guideline for Lonzo Ball suiting up for the Chicago Bulls
Ball underwent his third knee surgery in 14 months in March and the ligament replacement procedure casts doubt over the 25-year-old point guard's future on the court.
Bulls team president Arturas Karnisovas said Ball would miss the entire 2023-24 season to focus on getting his knee to full strength, adding, "If he comes back, it would be great.
"I think last month he got off the crutches. He's recovering, doing his rehab, everything is going well," Karnisovas said. "Going into the offseason, I think our expectation is that he's not coming back next season. And he's going to continue on his recovery."
Ball last played in a game in January 2022. He averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 35 starts in his first season with Chicago in 2021-22.
The Bulls are targeting point guards and perimeter shooters in free agency to compensate for a second straight season without Ball, Karnisovas said. The Bulls could apply to the NBA for a "disabled player provision," recovering a portion of the salary cap space Ball would occupy without filling a jersey or active roster spot. He carries a $20.5 million cap hit in 2023-24, per Spotrac
"I hope, eventually, you're going to see him on a basketball court," Karnisovas said. "But I do not think he's going to be back next season."
Drafted with the No. 2 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, Ball has averaged 11.9 points, 6.2 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 252 games (239 starts) with the Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Bulls
--Field Level Media