The Chicago Bulls internally are discussing the probability that guard Lonzo Ball won't play again because of issues with his left knee, according to a Chicago sports radio host.
Speaking on the Organizations Win Championships podcast, Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score said Bulls officials don't think his knee will recover enough for him to play again.
"The other thing I heard is even though publicly there has been an expression of guarded optimism regarding a future for Lonzo Ball," Bernstein said. "And there's a reason why for you're pursuant to all kinds of union issues, why they haven't asked for the salary exemption yet because they don't want to send the message publicly that they're done with him. They don't think it's likely that he ever plays again."
In March, multiple outlets confirmed the former No. 2 overall draft pick was set for a third knee surgery.
Ball, 25, hasn't played in an NBA game in more than a year, last playing for the Bulls on Jan. 14, 2022. He was close to ramping up the intensity of his rehab in February before having another setback.
The third surgery was expected to keep the UCLA product from playing for most, if not all, of the 2023-24 season. But Bernstein said the surgery was more about preserving Ball's quality of life than playing again.
The Bulls acquired Ball in a sign-and-trade deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in August 2021. After signing a four-year, $80 million deal, Ball sparked the Bulls to a 27-13 start before knee issues bumped him to the sideline.
Ball began up-ramp for a possible return in January, progressing to running full speed on a treadmill and even dunking in workouts. But before he was scheduled to advance to group workouts, the Bulls had to shut Ball down in February.
The Chino Hills, Calif., native was a first-round draft pick in 2017 by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. He has averaged 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 252 career games with the Lakers, Pelicans and Bulls.
--Field Level Media