Anthony Davis Trade: What this means for the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis, 26, was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012, going to the then New Orleans Hornets. Fast forward to January 2019, almost seven years after moving to New Orleans, Davis asked to leave the Pelicans in search of a bigger franchise and to rub shoulders with bigger stars. Davis had attracted the attention of two of the biggest franchises of the game in Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers before the latter finalized a trade with the Pels to acquire his services.
Celtics wanted AD but they couldn’t have signed him unless their current star player Kyrie Irving opted out (as per the “Rose Rule”). They also refused to include Jayson Tatum in the proposed deal.
The trade between Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans was one of the biggest in recent times. In exchange for Anthony Davis, Lakers gave away half of their young core which they built for years.
Lakers have faced criticism for letting go of their younger talents in the recent past including the likes of D'Angelo Russell (Brooklyn) and Julius Randle (Pelicans) who flourished in their new teams. But they are merciless in their pursuit of an NBA Championship and are going to great lengths for the same.
Is it a win-win situation for both the teams?
The Lakers will finally be able to pair LeBron with a superstar he wanted since coming here and Pelicans managed to get rid of a disgruntled star while making the most of it. Now LeBron and AD will share the same locker room besides sharing the same agent in Rich Paul.
Having drafted Zion Williamson earlier today, the Pelicans would now look to usher in a new era on a positive note. Now that they have a good core of young players in their squad, playing chemistry might take some time to comy by. However, the Pelicans now have a roster that is set to become a contender in the West in a few years' time.
About the players and draft picks
Ball, 21, was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft but has already had two injury-ridden seasons with the Lakers. Last season, he averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 assists in 47 games. Ingram, 21, was the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft has shown glimpses of brilliance as a lanky scorer, averaging 18.3 points while shooting 49.7% from the field before a blood clot in his right shoulder prematurely ended his season in March 2019.
Ingram had a good run post the All-Star break averaging 27.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 2.5 apg with shooting splits of 57% FG, 52.9% 3PT, and 75% from the free throw line. Hart, 24, averages 7.9 ppg while playing only around 25 minutes, and that too coming off the bench most of the time.
In the 2019 NBA Draft, Pelicans selected Zion Williamson, 18, as the No. 1 overall pick. He stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 285 pounds. In his freshman year at Duke, he averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds a game while shooting 68% from the field.
Pelicans had traded their No. pick 4 along with No. 57 pick, Solomon Hill (NOP) and a future second-rounder to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for No. 8, No. 17, No. 35 and a protected first-rounder belonging to the Cavaliers next year.
This resulted in Pelicans drafting Jaxson Hayes, 19, at No. 8, who played center for Texas Longhorns and averaged 10 ppg and 2.2 bpg. At No. 17 they drafted Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 20, who played for Virginia Tech and is known for his shooting. He made 38.3% of his 303 college 3-point attempts while averaging 16.2 ppg as a sophomore.
At No. 35 Pelicans picked Marcos Louzada Silva, 20, who averaged 10.3 ppg while shooting at 43% from beyond the arc in the Brazilian league. Through his efficient scoring and 3PT shooting, he also made it to the Brazilian Senior National Team.
Pelicans and Lakers squads next season
Pelicans have Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday putting up impressive numbers for them.
Radle averaged 21.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 3.1 apg while Jrue averaged 21.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 7.7 apg last season. These two are equally efficient in both offense as well as defense.
If the Pelicans and Lakers had waited until July 30 to complete the trade, the Lakers could've had $32.5 million in cap space, enough to pursue a max-contract-level free agent. But that would have left Pelicans with $15 million in cap space, rather than $19 million which they will get by completing the trade by July 6.
Lakers are looking to bring at least one of the stars from Kawhi Leonard (TOR), Kemba Walker (CHA), Kyrie Irving (BOS) or Jimmy Buttler (PHI) down to LA
Since the Golden State Warriors were unable to defend the NBA Championship and their two key players (Kevin Durant and Klay Thomson) are out due to long term injuries, teams are investing a huge sum of money to establish a new era in the NBA and the humbled Lakers would want the same.