Even though it's early in the offseason, injury woes are still a major storyline for the Chicago Bulls. According to David Kaplan, Lonzo Ball’s knee is not improving and the Bulls front office is concerned about the lingering pain whenever he resumes basketball activities.
The guard suffered a meniscus tear in late January and underwent surgery to repair the ligament. His initial timeline of 6-8 weeks had him on pace to return to the team right before the playoffs. However, at the beginning of April, the Bulls announced Ball would not return for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, including the playoffs.
Chicago acquired Ball from the Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal last August that netted him a four-year, $85 million contract. In his first season with the Bulls, the 24-year-old was a driving force behind the team's massive turnaround. Ball averaged 13.0 PPG on 42.3 percent shooting, 5.4 RPG, and 5.1 APG in 35 games.
When evaluating the Chicago Bulls' roster, the depth behind Ball is a bit concerning. Yes, Alex Caruso has been great when healthy. However, Coby White was one of the biggest liabilities on the team. His offensive inconsistency and substandard defensive play raise concerns.
The Bulls may look to make a move at acquiring another guard, but there are still five months until the 2022-23 NBA season tips off. There is no reason to even think about pressing the panic button just yet.
But if Lonzo Ball's outlook does not improve as the offseason progresses, Arturas Karnisovas and co. may need to seek out fixes via a trade or free agency.