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Chicago Bulls granted disabled player exception for Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball Bulls

Lonzo Ball Bulls
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Bulls granted disabled player exception for Lonzo Ball

The Chicago Bulls have been granted a $10.2 million disabled player exception due to a season-ending knee injury suffered by Lonzo Ball, according to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The disabled player exception allows a team to replace a player who is out for the entirety of the season. This means that Chicago will be able to trade or claim a player in the final year of their contract or sign a free agent to a one-year deal.

On draft night, Arturas Karnisovas, Bulls vice president, said that Ball will miss the entirety of the 2023-24 NBA season. Ball underwent cartilage transplant surgery in March, his third surgery in 14 months to address chronic soreness in his right knee.

Ball hasn’t played since January of 2022 in a game against the Golden State Warriors. It has also been rumored that due to repeated knee injuries that Ball might not ever play again. This news is made all the worse when you consider how successful the Bulls were with their core of DeMar DeRozanZach LaVineNikola Vucevic,  and Lonzo Ball all fully healthy.

Why Lonzo Ball was so important to Chicago’s success

Prior to Ball’s injury, the Bulls were a top-ten team on offense and defense and had the number four net rating in the NBA and were also the number one seed in the East. The Bulls had a record of 22-13 in 35 games with Ball on the court in 2021-22.

While he might not have ever lived up to the expectations that some put on him such as Stephen Curry with a 40-inch vertical. But, Ball carved out a vital role with his skill set, primarily as one of the best defenders in all of basketball.

Every single year of his career, his team has significantly been better with him on the floor defensively than off. In Ball’s last healthy season, the Bulls were a staggering 8.6 points better per 100 possessions defensively with Ball on the floor, per Cleaning The Glass.

For reference, the Bulls had a defensive rating of 108.2 with Ball on the floor in the 2021-22 season. That mark would’ve made Chicago the 4th best defense in all of the NBA. Ball is also a genius playmaker, a well-rounded scorer and an elite shooter.

In his last healthy season, Ball recorded per-game averages of 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on 42.3 percent from the field and from deep. In his career, Ball has put up per-game averages of 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists on 40 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Here’s to hoping we see Lonzo Ball take the floor again.


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