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We may have seen the last of Lonzo Ball in an NBA uniform.
On an episode of the Organizations Win Championships podcast, Bernstein said the Bulls fear the worst for Ball — but they don’t want to say that publicly.
“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 your 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.”
Ball missed the 2022-23 season with a knee injury, and he had a third operation on the knee in March.
And it wasn’t your typical knee surgery. It was a cartilage transplant.
“That was our speculation when we heard about experimental cartilage replacement surgery,” Bernstein said. “It is incredibly rare and is much more likely being done just for his quality of life off of the basketball court.”
The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Bulls acquired him before the 2021-22 season.
Ball has averaged 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 252 career games.
Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14, 2022, when he left the game with knee soreness. That injury was eventually revealed to be a small meniscus tear.