Free-agent Lonzo Ball would 'love to be back' with Pelicans
Kent Smith / National Basketball Association / Getty

Pending free-agent Lonzo Ball is interested in returning to the New Orleans Pelicans.

"That's a conversation between me and my agent moving forward. But obviously I would love to be back," Ball told reporters Monday, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez.

The Pelicans can either match an offer sheet from another team for the restricted free agent to bring him back for a third season or negotiate a sign-and-trade.

"I built a bond here with the coaches and the teammates who are here," Ball continued. "I definitely wouldn't mind coming back at all."

Ball posted a career-best 14.6 points per game while averaging 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds over 55 appearances this season for the Pelicans. The UCLA product also recorded career-high shooting marks from the field (41.4%), beyond the arc (37.8%), and at the line (78.1%). The latter is a massive jump from last season (56.6%).

Another key Pelicans contributor hopes Ball can reach a deal to return.

"It'd be dope," Zion Williamson said when asked about Ball potentially coming back. "Me, Brandon (Ingram), and Zo, the three of us have a great relationship. I really would want Zo to come back. He knows that.

"But you know, like I said, the reality of the situation is Zo is a grown man, so he'll make the decision that's best for him. The only thing I can say is, I hope he stays."

Ball's role changed this season under Stan Van Gundy, with the 6-foot-6 guard's shooting contributions improving at the expense of his playmaking.

"I think my shooting picked up from all levels of the court," Ball said. "That was the main thing for me this year. My role was different this year. Kind of more of a 3-and-D role. I think I fit into it pretty well."

The fourth-year pro's revised duties resulted in single-game highs in points (33) and 3-pointers made (eight). Ball says he's willing to take on the same role with the Pelicans or another potential suitor.

"I think I'm a basketball player. Whatever the coach wants from me, I'm going to go out there and do it to the best of my abilities," Ball said.

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Free-agent Lonzo Ball would 'love to be back' with Pelicans
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