Officially unofficially, Anthony Davis is going to be a Laker. Yesterday, L.A and New Orleans agreed to a massive trade that sends AD to the Lake Show, and Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the #4 pick of this years draft, and two other draft picks early in the impending new decade, to the Pels, as reported by Woj. I wasn’t “shook ” yesterday when I learned of the trade. This one didn’t sneak up on us like other trades have over the past few years, like last summer when newly crowned Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was traded from SA to Toronto. This one felt like it was bound to happen, it just happened a little before I really expected to. Truthfully, it really does seem like a win-win situation for both squads.
The Pelicans HAD to move on from A.D. He was never going to sign another contract there. Also, the longer they would have waited, the less valuable he would have become. So, with that in mind, we know when you are trading a superstar, it is really difficult to gauge what is fair to get in return if the other team is not also trading a superstar. It’s based off of potential. It seems like the Pelicans got some pretty good potential out of their side of the haul. I really like Lonzo and what he may be capable of in the future. He looks like he could become the best *pure* point in the league over the course of the next five or so years. He just has to stay healthy, and enhance his jump shooting. Brandon Ingram has shown solid flashes early in his career, but his recent health issues are a concern. His condition is similar to what derailed the end of Chris Bosh’s career. The difference being Bosh’s blood clots were in his lungs, Ingram’s were in his arm. That looks like it is being taken care of for now. In 52 games last season, Ingram scored 18 a game on 49% shooting. Solid numbers for a second year player, who has a lot of work to do on his body. Josh Hart is one of my favorite bench guards in the league. Solid defensively and shoots respectively (33%) from 3 point land.
As of now, the Pelicans starting lineup for next year could be (assuming they do take Zion #1) Lonzo, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion, Julius Randle. That’s a pretty interesting young lineup to say the least, but you still have the number four pick on the table. That could be flipped for another guy, or they could use the pick to pair with Zion. Not to mention that the Pels also have a decent amount of cap space, if they can actually entice a good free agent there.
For the Lakers, it’s an obvious win. But this move alone is not enough to get them where they ultimately are vying to get. Not a whole lot needs to be said about Ant, and what he’s capable of. If you had never watched a basketball game in your life and turned on a game he was playing in, you’d intrinsically know that he was either the best or second best player on the court. His talent is obvious, and he’s going to score points in gobbles, but AD and Lebron are not enough. After they announced the trade, a report came out saying the Lakers would heavily pursue Kemba Walker. It would make for Lebron’s third “big three”, and arguably what might be the most talented overall. To me, Kemba has always been a very special player who has never had a lot to work with. It would be a lot of fun seeing him get to play with this generations maestro, but he said he really wants to stay in Charlotte, even for less than the max.
Outside of Kemba, I think Brad Beal would still be a tremendous get for the Lakers, and would pair perfectly with Lebron’s skill set. The issue here is that he is not a free agent, and would have to be traded for, and the Laker’s just gave up most of their assets. The free agent class at guard isn’t extremely promising outside of the top couple of guys. Kyrie, Jimmy Butler, Kemba, and Klay. Kyrie seems like he’s headed to Brooklyn, Kemba will probably stay, as will Klay, (although Klay and LBJ would be the perfect teammate pairing of all time). Jimmy Butler seems to be the most likely pairing for the Lakers, and I don’t love it. I’ve never been big on Jimmy Butler, but they would for sure win a lot of basketball games. If this is who they end up with, tie it together with a point guard like Darren Collison (UFA) or Jeff Teague (UFA), they could end up with a nice little roster.
In the NBA whoever gets the superstar in a trade, wins the trade. But I like what the Pelicans did overall. They’re giving Zion the future they didn’t give AD, and are finally giving AD the chance to do what he’s always wanted to do, win.