Lun. May 27th, 2024

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After missing the past two-plus seasons with a knee injury, Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has exercised the $21.4 million option on his contract for the 2024-25 season, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Ball has undergone three surgeries on his left knee, the most recent a cartilage transplant in 2023. There remains some guarded hope that he could return next season, but there are no assurances that the damaged knee will allow for him to play again.

Ball, 26, signed an original four-year, $80 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade with New Orleans in the summer of 2021. After a fantastic start that had the Bulls leading the Eastern Conference in 2021-22, Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals before a knee injury 35 games into the season.

His inactivity has caused his contract to become a blight on the Bulls’ salary cap.

Ball was the No. 2 overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA draft and eventually was traded to the Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis blockbuster deal.

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