At the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to trade for Anthony Davis, who asked for one from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson offering the entire young core, draft picks, and salary cap relief, the Pelicans ultimately wanted to wait until the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery for more offers.
As the Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Lakers also landed the No. 4 pick. However, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics — two potential trade partners — did not fare as well three months later.
With the Lakers expected to re-engage in Davis trade discussions, Josh Hart felt LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were the only untouchable players at the time, via Inside the Green Room with Danny Green:
“It seemed like nobody was untouchable honestly besides Bron and KCP.”
While James was untouchable and rightfully so, it appears the Lakers did include Caldwell-Pope, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
“The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said.”
In Year 1 with James, Davis trade rumors and injuries completely derailed any chances of ending the team’s six-year playoff drought. For the first time in their careers, Hart and the young core were involved in very public rumors.
Unfortunately for the young core, it will likely continue as Davis recently met with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin to discuss his future. While Griffin has been focused on keeping Davis, the 26-year-old has not changed his stance on the trade request three months later.
As there will be conflicting reports leading up to June 20, it remains unclear if the Pelicans are willing to trade Davis to the Lakers. Some within the Pelicans have since admitted the Lakers made a ‘pretty attractive’ offer for him.
If the Lakers are able to trade for Davis, the hope is it will not require a godfather offer like the one Johnson made. If not, Bradley Beal reportedly is another trade option, but the Washington Wizards are still looking for a general manager and would want Lonzo Ball included in any offers.
Through all of the drama, the reality is the Lakers still have numerous options. For general manager Rob Pelinka, it is an opportunity to right the ship or create more questions about his reputation around the league.