Three things to Know: Lonzo Ball to have third knee surgery, may miss all of next season
Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.
1) Lonzo Ball to have third knee surgery, may miss all of next season
For the third time in 14 months, Lonzo Ball will have surgery on his left knee.
That disturbing news came Thursday from the team and his agency, Klutch Sports. This time it is an operation — a cartilage transplant — that means he may also miss all of next season.
“This has been a frustrating process, but I’m confident these next steps are the best path forward,” Ball said in a statement. “The support of my family, friends, fans and medical staff throughout my recovery is what keeps me moving forward. I can’t wait to get back to what I love doing most – playing basketball.”
It’s fair to wonder if Ball will ever step on an NBA court again — which is devastating for a 25-year-old passionate about the game. He also proved to be exactly the kind of defender, outside shooter and guard who would push the pace that the Bulls needed in the 35 games he played for them. Ball has two seasons at $41.9 million remaining on his contract (the second season is a player option).
It also is part of a run of bad point guard injury luck with the Bulls, starting with Jay Williams, through Derrick Rose, to Ball.
Ball had surgery on the knee in January of 2022 and was expected back before the season ended, however, his recovery was slow and there was still pain. He had a second surgery in September. Recovery was slow from that surgery as well, and recently the Bulls shut him down for the remainder of this season. Now comes this third surgery and it’s a more radical procedure in an attempt to grow cartilage and put it in the knee.
“I continue to admire Lonzo’s perseverance throughout this journey,” Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas said in a statement. This has been a long and challenging road for him, and this decision has been a difficult one to make. The organization is behind him, and he has our full support. Our training and medical staff continue their commitment to Lonzo’s rehabilitation and to working with him throughout this next phase to ensure his healthy return to basketball.”
Karnišovas and the Bulls’ front office will need to address the point guard situation this offseason. At this point, anything they get in future years from Ball has to be seen as a bonus, but not something they can expect.
2) Watch Myles Turner put Giannis in a poster. Also, the Pacers won.
The Bucks have been the best team in the NBA since Feb. 1, while the struggling Pacers were without All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton. That made the Bucks the heavy favorite heading into Thursday night…
Welcome to the NBA. The Pacers scored 49 points in the third quarter, knocked down 22-of-46 (47.8%) from 3 for the game, and got 24 points from Andrew Nembhard on their way to a 139-123 win.
However, the play everyone is talking about is Myles Turner putting Giannis Antetokounmpo in a poster.
Antetokounmpo got his on Turner, too.
The Bucks have a cushion atop the East and can afford an off night against a hot-shooting team. It happens. Milwaukee just can’t let it become a trend (some other top teams have stumbled lately — we’re looking at you, Denver).
3) Michael Jordan in talks to sell his share of Hornets
Michael Jordan has been an important owner for the NBA — the only black majority team owner, and also an iconic player who has been a critical bridge between the players’ union and ownership during CBA negotiations.
Now it looks like Jordan is getting out. He is in talks to sell his majority stake in the team to a group led by Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin plus Rick Schnall, a minority owner of the Hawks. It’s relatively early in talks, but the sides reportedly have gained momentum.
Jordan would retain a minority interest in the team he bought into back in 2009 (he purchased the rest of the franchise and took sole ownership in 2019). Jordan eventually sold minority shares of the team, including to Plotkin.
What this means for the Hornets remains up in the air, but they are under lease to stay in the Spectrum Center in Charlotte through 2030. The Hornets are a young team on the rise, built around franchise-cornerstone guard LaMelo Ball. This could be a very good team in a few years (especially depending on how this draft lottery goes), which could make this the perfect time to buy the franchise.