The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make big moves during the 2019 offseason. Trading for superstar big man Anthony Davis was at the top of their priority list after the team missed out on the playoffs in LeBron James first year with the team.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t consummate an Anthony Davis trade deal during the season, but they agreed to terms before the 2019 NBA draft, according to recent reports. David Griffin, the new head of basketball operations for the Pelicans, wanted to make sure he got something back for his disgruntled star. All that’s left is to make the trade official. We will look at how the deal impacts all parties involved, why now was the perfect time to pull the trigger, and what other moves the Lakers might have planned.
Presented an offer they shouldn’t have refused?
When the Lakers placed their highest bid for Anthony Davis during the season, they offered Lonzo ball, Brandon Ingram, a few young prospects, and a few first-round draft picks.
That package could have jump-started the New Orleans rebuild, and the decision to wait on the trade could have ended up being the team’s downfall. However, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka was able to move enough pieces around and make another offer to land the superstar. Ball and Ingram are part of the latest trade deal, too.
LeBron and AD dominance?
Pairing Anthony Davis and LeBron James together, in theory, sounds smart. When healthy and playing at an A-plus level, they are both easily two of the top five players in the NBA.
This past season LeBron averaged 27 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game. He was easily the best player on the Lakers, and the team played better when he and Ball were both healthy.
Davis put up another All-NBA season for New Orleans, averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds per game. He also made his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor with 2.4 blocks per game.
This will be a very formidable pairing in the Western Conference. There isn’t a big man in the league who can stay toe-to-toe with Davis once he gets into a groove, and LeBron James is one of the top NBA players ever.
Could they land another superstar?
Making sure they landed Davis was the No. 1 goal for the Lakers front office. After securing him on the roster, they should set their sights on forming their own big three. Could the Lakers turn them into a championship contender if they somehow pulled off a deal to get a third superstar? We don’t know if they’ll win a title with a third star on the roster, but they need to make additional moves.
The deal for Davis gutted the main portion of their young core, but it could also give them some cap flexibility to sign one more big-time player.
Kemba Walker would be an excellent choice, and depending on how good the Lakers are with cap management, you could be looking at a roster similar to the first Miami team with LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh alongside a bunch of minimum-salary players surrounding them.
Why the deal makes sense for both sides
The Lakers had to complete the Anthony Davis trade. It was worth the risk of mortgaging the future to land a player of this caliber, especially after missing out on landing Davis before the trade deadline. Now, they have two bonafide superstars to anchor their team as they attempt to get back in the playoff picture.
For the Pelicans, they received a king’s ransom for a player who wanted to leave one way or the other.
David Griffin has an excellent set of players to place around No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. This is one of the cases where a veteran NBA front office executive (Griffin) clearly outclasses a young front office official (Pelinka). Not only did the Pelicans get three very good young players for their roster, but they also received three NBA draft picks. Those picks were the No. 4 selection in the 2019 draft, a top-8 protected 2021 pick that becomes an unprotected 2022 draft pick, the right to swap first-round picks in 2023, and an unprotected 2024 pick that the Pelicans can defer to the 2025 draft if they choose.
It is an AMAZING haul for the Pelicans, and the future should be bright in New Orleans.