Assuming that nothing holds up the trade (like perhaps Brandon Ingram’s deep vein thrombosis), the Los Angeles Lakers will give up three players and three first round draft picks for New Orleans Pelican Anthony Davis. By the way, here’s how those picks will shake out.
Pairing Davis with LeBron James has the potential for greatness even if James is on the backend of his career. They can let Davis do the heavy lifting while LeBron basically plays traffic cop, and the offense and defense run through him or maybe by him.
There was a great moment — well two - near the end of Magic Johnson’s brilliant career with the Lakers.
In the first, he had a lot of young teammates and during the game he was walking them all through where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing.
In other words, he was literally explaining the offense while executing it. It was phenomenal to watch and realize that even though he was telling the other team too, they couldn’t stop him. That’s like the story of Larry Bird telling someone exactly what he was going to do and then doing it and killing the guy - except Magic did the same with 10 guys.
And in the second moment, he was teaching a very young Vlade Divac what he was supposed to do and hit him under the basket for an easy score.
Divac walked to Magic like a child, with has hands behind his back, looking quite tentative.
Magic just grabbed him and hugged him tight. It was the happiest we ever saw Divac and it was utterly charming on both of their parts.
That’s kind of what the Lakers can do now with LeBron: as they lessen his load he can become the elder statesman and the embodiment of Laker tradition. He’s still new in LA but like George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’ Neal and Kobe Bryant, he is one of the league’s greats. He can fill that role as his skills begin to decline and his body begins to betray him after 16 hard years of competition.
If the Lakers can pull this off and sign another significant free agent, then LA is back despite the massive executive dysfunction.
But what about the Pelicans?
New Orleans would obviously have preferred to have kept Davis and A.D. next to Zion Williamson would have been a lot of fun. Davis had other plans however and now Williamson is going to the face of the franchise for at least the near future.
But the trade gives New Orleans a really nice young core to build on.
Williamson is just 18. The trade brings Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Ingram, who are 21, 24 and 21 respectively. Julius Randle is 24, Elfrid Payton is 25, Frank Jackson is 21 and Jahlil Okafor, who did a nice job filling in for Anthony Davis when he was out this year, is 23 as is Stanley Johnson. If they keep the #4 draft pick he’ll be young too. The oldest guy they’re likely to take is DeAndre Hunter, who is 21.
Randle is a free agent so he may not be back.
The elder statesmen are likely to be Jrue Holiday, 29, E’Twaun Moore 30 and Nikola Mirotic is also 30 or 28, depending on who you ask.
With Zion Williamson on the roster, the emphasis is going to be on spreading the court so good shooters will be a premium. It wouldn’t surprise us to see the Pelicans trade for a better shooter or pick up a free agent like, say, Danny Green.
There’s a chance that Boston could lost both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier, so they might want to cut a deal for the #4 pick and get a point guard, say Coby White or Darius Garland. If New Orleans moved down the draft to Boston’s pick they could possibly get Tyler Herro, Rui Hachimura or Nickeil Alexander-Walker, all of whom would help space the floor. Ty Jerome will be on the board for a bit and that guy is a flat killer.
Obviously New Orleans will also need size to help replace Davis. He’s aging, but DeAndre Jordan might do for a couple of years. We like Enes Kanter too and he’s a bit younger at 27. Either of those guys, with Okafor, should give New Orleans a credible presence inside.
The point is that despite losing Davis, the Pelicans are suddenly full of options and potential. We could even see a scenario where they picked up Oregon’s Bol Bol late and turned him loose as a three point shooter.
And let’s face it. A team with Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Bol Bol would, at a minimum, be immensely entertaining. It’s all good in the Big Easy.
Okay, there is one downside.
- Pelicans trade Anthony Davis to Lakers in blockbuster NBA deal
- Lakers acquire Anthony Davis from Pelicansin blockbuster trade
- Why the Pelicans just became one of the most exciting NBA teams
- LeBron James Reacts To Lakers Trading For Anthony Davis
- LaVar Ball on Davis trade: ‘It will be the worst move the Lakers ever did’
- Details of draft picks Lakers traded to Pelicans revealed
- PelicansAgree to Trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers
- 2019 NBA Mock Draft: Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter is best option for Pelicans at No. 4 after Anthony Davis trade to Lakers