The Los Angeles Lakers’ blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis has dominated headlines this week, making it easy to forget that the 2019 NBA Draft is approaching.
As was the case this past weekend when the New Orleans Pelicans decided to finally part ways with Davis, all attention will be on them in the early portion of the draft.
Holding two of the top-four picks, the Pelicans are all but guaranteed to select Zion Williamson at No. 1. Recently acquiring the No. 4 overall pick from the Lakers, there is less certainty on how the Pelicans will proceed when they are officially back on the clock.
New Orleans has shopped the asset around in recent days as an effort to acquire an All-Star caliber player, but there have been no takers to this point. As a result, the Pelicans may ultimately end up adding another prospect to their talented young core.
While the Pelicans can keep the No. 4 pick, there also remains the possibility of trading down. According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the Pelicans have considered doing such to acquire the Nos. 8 and 9 picks from the Atlanta Hawks:
Source: The Atlanta Hawks have been aggressive exploring trades packaging the No. 8 and 10 picks to move up in the draft. Their offer to the Knicks for the No. 3 pick was apparently rebuffed. The Pelicans are considering the possibility of trading the No. 4 pick for 8+10.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 18, 2019
While the Davis trade is currently expected to be finalized on July 6, the Lakers are remaining hopeful that they can still have a max-contract slot available, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
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
Depending on what happens, the Lakers could have $23.7-32.5 million available. While it could be a difficult path, they will have to trade Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones while Davis waives his trade kicker.
The hope is the Lakers give themselves a chance to sign a third All-Star player or multiple role players.