It took only a few days after the Toronto Raptors captured their first NBA title, for the Anthony Davis sweepstakes to end. The winners, were the Los Angeles Lakers, who had tried to trade for Davis since before the trade deadline.
Here are the details of the trade between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers:
Breaking: The Pelicans have agreed to a deal to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks – including the No. 4 overall in 2019 Draft, league sources tell @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/a2L4wSQOOx
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 15, 2019
With only five players remaining on their roster the Lakers have options on how they want to fill out their roster. Either go for broke and clear cap space to try to sign another max free agent. Or use that remaining cap space to sign multiple starting caliber players to support Davis and Lebron James.
Acquiring Davis has given the Lakers the best duo in the NBA heading into next season. Not to mention, with Golden State crippled with injuries, the Lakers now seem to be the new favorites to win next year’s title.
This article will explain why the Lakers didn’t mortgage their future by acquiring Davis, but actually made their future brighter.
The Lakers kept the best young player
It seemed throughout the trade process it was clear Los Angeles was unwilling to part ways with Kyle Kuzma. That is because now Kuzma is a better player than both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball who were traded.
Some may argue that although Kuzma is better currently, Ingram and Ball have a higher upside. However, Ball has only played in 99 out of a possible 164 games in his career. Meanwhile, Ingram is recovering from a surgery where he had blood clots in his right arm removed.
Besides their injury problems, Ball and Ingram have not lived up to their number two overall selections. If Ingram and Ball evolve into superstars on their new team, then the Lakers may regret trading two superstars for one superstar. Yet, those are major “ifs” that are less likely than not to happen.
Trade makes Lakers contenders now and for the future
Lebron James career in the NBA is on the back-end. Not meaning he is any less of a player, but eventually his level of play will have to decline. If Davis resigns with the Lakers after this season, him and James will be together for at least the remaining three years left on James’ contract.
Furthermore, this trade should not be viewed as something that will help the Lakers in only the next few years. Instead with Davis in the prime of his career, this should be viewed as a trade that could help the Lakers for the next decade.
It seems Los Angeles is taking the approach of doing anything in their power to clear enough cap space to acquire another max free agent. Some of those free agent targets are Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker.
What Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office are trying to do to clear a max contract slot:
Lakers are trying to expand Anthony Davis trade and create ability to open max salary slot on July 6, sources tell @BobbyMarks42 and me. Lakers offering contracts of Mo Wagner/Jemerrio Jones/Isaac Bonga to additional teams, so LA can satisfy CBA rules on creating $32M in space.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 19, 2019
All those free agents are in their prime just like Davis, so even if Lebron retires after his contract is over, the Lakers will have a superstar duo to carry the franchise. Even without adding a max free agent, if Los Angeles can build a winner around Davis unlike the Pelicans he will stay for the long term.
Draft Compensation shouldn’t be harmful
Finally, the unknown about this trade, the draft compensation. Currently, all we know is that the Pelicans control the fourth pick in the 2019 draft. Nonetheless, New Orléans is actively shopping that pick. The 2019 draft is unique in that after the top three picks, it unclear who the next star could be. So giving up the fourth pick knowing Zion Williamson, JA Morant or RJ Barrett won’t be there, favors the Lakers.
After that the Pelicans control two other first round picks from the Lakers, which shouldn’t affect them since the Lakers should be title contenders in those years. In order for the Lakers to regret giving up those future draft picks three things would have to happen.
First, the Lakers get no championships out of having Davis and James on the same team. Secondly, if Davis shockingly leaves Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Lastly, New Orléans would have to draft impact players with those presumed low draft picks acquired from the Lakers.
As of today the Lakers look like they are set up to prosper, and bring championships back to Los Angeles. The future of the assets and draft picks the Lakers gave up and their success are unknown. But what is known is the Lakers have Anthony Davis for the long-term and his generational talents should make it worth it.