When the Los Angeles Lakers landed the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, it automatically created more trade options in an important offseason.
While former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson reportedly offered the young core, draft picks, and salary cap for Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans declining that trade may have worked out for the Lakers.
Three months since the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, the Lakers gained another valuable asset while the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks — two potential partners — did not fare as well in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery.
After Davis recently met with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, there is more clarity on the situation heading into the 2019 NBA Draft, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
While New Orleans Pelicans executive Vice President David Griffin and All-Star Anthony Davis‘ agent Rich Paul will continue discussions, it’s highly unlikely Davis‘ stance changes on trade, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2019
With the Pelicans likely having to trade Davis before he becomes a free agent in 2020, some within the organization are acknowledging the Lakers have ‘good assets,’ according to Andrew Lopez of The Times-Picayune:
Would you give up Lonzo Ball in a trade for Anthony Davis?
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) May 30, 2019
Regardless if it is free agency or trades, Davis should be the team’s top target. At just 26-years-old and set to make $27.1 million for the 2019-20 NBA season, he is the perfect fit to win now and for at least the next six seasons.
As Josh Hart felt LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were the only untouchable players during the Davis trade discussions, it will likely be a similar scenario if the Lakers and Pelicans do re-engage.
While it would be difficult to trade the young core after rebuilding for five seasons, Davis and James would be instant championship contenders — especially if Kevin Durant does not re-sign with the Golden State Warriors.