Back in 2019, the Los Angeles Lakers famously traded away Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for star big man Anthony Davis. Along with all of the draft compensation the Lakers also traded, some felt they gave away too much, but the deal immediately resulted in an NBA Championship for the franchise.
As for those young pieces traded away by the Lakers, each has had their own career twists and turns, but one who got a lot of attention recently was Hart after being a big piece of the New York Knicks’ run to the second round of the playoffs. Hart has been traded two more times since that first move, but none of them hurt as much as that initial trade.
In the immediate aftermath of being traded to New Orleans, Hart would post a selfie of himself on Instagram smiling. But in a recent interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, he revealed that it was all a front and he really wanted to stay with the Lakers:
“It was smiling through the pain. Because I was sick. I did not want to leave. I posted that as a false front of like, ‘Yeah, I’m excited to go to New Orleans.’ Nah. I got to LA and my biggest thing was I always wanted to be in the league and be with at least one team for a long time. I wanted a place to have as home. It was like, let me post this so people would think, ‘Oh, he’s excited. He’s happy and all that.’ But no, deep down, I’m like, ‘Damn. I don’t wanna leave.’”
For those who don’t remember, this is the picture Hart posted not long after the trade from the Lakers, via ESPN’s Andrew Lopez:
From Josh Hart’s IG story…. pic.twitter.com/CEsbZl6UYl
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) June 15, 2019
Hart’s mindset is very common amongst players when they first enter the league. Players hope to find a home and stay there for a long time, but the NBA is a business and many find out very quickly that things can change. For the Lakers the chance to get Davis was too good to pass up, which meant Hart had to leave a place he didn’t want to, even if he understand why L.A. had to do the deal.
Things have worked out well for Hart since as he has established himself as a top role player who can defend, shoot and rebound at a high level. Hart has a player option for next season, which he is expected to opt-out of and secure himself a much bigger deal. It seems likely that he will re-sign with the Knicks and perhaps finally have that long-term home that he wished was the Lakers many years ago.
Chris Paul would be ‘very coveted’ by Lakers & Clippers if waived by Suns
Another player who could find himself in free agency this summer is veteran point guard Chris Paul as the Phoenix Suns are considering waiving him before his contract becomes fully guaranteed on June 28.
Both Paul and the Suns are interested in finding a way for him to remain in Phoenix, but should he hit free agency, he will reportedly be very coveted by both the Lakers and Clippers, each of whom have a point guard need this offseason.
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