Lakers Rumors: Pelicans Expected To Take 2025 First-Round Draft Pick Instead Of 2024
Anthony Davis, Jonas Valanciunas, Lakers, Pelicans
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers made a big swing for Anthony Davis in 2019 to pair him alongside LeBron James with the hope of bringing in a championship. However, that came with a sacrifice of giving up first-round draft capital for several years, hindering the purple and gold from adding young talent.

As the James and Davis era nears an end, it makes sense for L.A. to begin caring about recapturing some draft assets to build this team around their All-Star big man. This could be a nice change of pace after trying to find diamonds in the rough in the second round, despite having some success doing so.

The Lakers are almost done paying the Pelicans for the Davis trade, but New Orleans has the right to one more first round pick in either 2024 or 2025, which they choose.

However, it seems that the expectation is L.A. will keep their first-round pick this draft and the Pelicans will take the Lakers’ 2025 pick, via Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

As a result of the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers will lose their first-round pick to the Pelicans either this year or next. People around the league expect that the Pelicans will give the Lakers their pick this year and take the 2025 pick.

This is a good sign for the Lakers as they could use this pick to add a young prospect or facilitate a potential trade on draft night. It’s a similar situation to last year’s draft, where L.A. could’ve traded the No. 17 pick, but ultimately decided on selecting Jalen Hood-Schifino.

The 2024 NBA Draft is expected to be a weak one though, which is why New Orleans seems to prefer pushing it back to 2025, maintaining that asset in the meantime. They don’t have to decide until June, however, so if the Lakers end up in the lottery and move up to the top three, perhaps the Pelicans decide they want the pick in 2024.

For the Lakers though, keeping the 2024 pick would actually be preferable because it would give them three tradable first-rounders this summer that they can package and trade for a star.

The season is not over for the purple and gold yet, but this will now become another hefty decision for general manager Rob Pelinka and those involved in the front office when the summer rolls around. In a draft class that is deemed not to be strong, perhaps it makes it easier to attach this first-round pick to a deal that could improve the roster now.

LeBron James likely to opt out this summer to get no-trade clause

Another massive decision that looms for the Lakers is the player option that LeBron James possesses. It remains to be seen when the 39-year-old is going to hang it up or how he feels about remaining a Laker, but the early indication is that he wants to stay.

The question is whether he will accept the option and ride off into the sunset potentially or decline to re-up on a new contract. It seems that the latest rumor is the four-time champion will forgo his option with the hope of securing a no-trade clause on a new contract with the Lakers.

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