Bulls exec Arturas Karnisovas still hopeful for a Lonzo Ball return

While Karnisovas still had no timeline for a possible Ball return, he was confident that the point guard will play again in a Bulls uniform. That doesn’t mean he won’t address the point-guard position this summer, however.

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Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball could miss all of next season after undergoing a third left knee surgery, but the Bulls are holding a spot for him.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

As surprising as it sounds, Lonzo Ball remains in the Bulls’ plans.

The team made it clear Saturday that he still has a spot waiting for him.

“I have confidence that he’s going to come back,’’ Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said. “In terms of a timeline, I don’t have that timeline right now because he just had the procedure [on his left knee].’’

Is it wishful thinking? Possibly, especially because Ball underwent his latest surgery in March — his third in less than a year — and no NBA player has come back after that type of procedure.

But Karnisovas will have to address his point-guard situation this offseason while hoping Ball returns. There’s a good chance Ball misses all of next season, and not adding to the position last summer ended up being a major issue.

“I don’t have regrets because I had to wait for clarity,’’ Karnisovas said. “We were going with hopes that he was going to play with us, and that didn’t happen, and I had to adjust afterward. That’s how we’re going to look at it. I don’t know his timeline, but we’re going to make adjustments and tweaks to the roster to address that.’’

They need to.

Patrick Beverley was a nice rental after the All-Star break, but the Bulls need a point guard who also can be a threat from three-point range.

Coby White could be that guy, but, either way, the position needs to be addressed.

“You saw how good we were in the beginning of the season last year and how easy it was for us,’’ shooting guard Zach LaVine said. 

“And then obviously with [Ball] going down and us trying to scramble a little bit, it makes everybody play a different role than we were supposed to.

“I think everybody stepped up in a certain way [this season]. But I think it was just tough for us to have a setback like that. Pat came in to play, a veteran point guard, an elite guard that’s been in big games and big situations. And we thrived.’’

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