With the 2019 NBA Draft just around the corner, trade talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis have once again picked up.
Davis’ trade request since the February trade deadline with the Lakers as his desired destination has not changed and considering they still have all their young assets and the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft, it seems that their offer may be able to trump any other teams.
While it is unclear what the Lakers are actually offering for the six-time All-Star, it is being reported that Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the No. 4 pick are all on the table.
It seems the Pelicans are trying to get a third team involved in a potential deal as well, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times:
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
The one player the Lakers have been hesitant to offer is Kyle Kuzma, who was the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and has developed into a solid player in his two years with the Lakers. It appears the Pelicans want him, so he may be the difference in getting a deal done or not:
Among the current young Lakers, New Orleans covets Kuzma the most. According to people familiar with the Lakers’ thinking, Kuzma has ingratiated himself with the organization both on the court and off it and their management does not want to trade the forward who is entering his third season.
If the Lakers are able to retain one of Ball, Ingram, Kuzma or the No. 4 pick while also acquiring Davis, then that should be considered a win and they should not hesitate to pull the trigger regardless of which player they keep.
With things beginning to heat up, a deal could be consummated sooner rather than later so the Lakers can shift their focus to free agency at the beginning of July.
As it currently stands, the only other knowns suitors for Davis are the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, but agent Rich Paul has made it clear that he would not sign with the Celtics long-term and the Knicks may not have good enough assets to get a deal done.