The Los Angeles Lakers have selected Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
However, as part of the Anthony Davis trade that is expected to be completed on July 6 at the very earliest, the Lakers will trade Hunter, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and numerous draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans.
And in a separate move at this time, the Pelicans will then trade Hunter, Solomon Hill, No. 57 pick, and a future second round to the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8, 17, and 35 picks along with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ heavily-protected 2020 first round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Along with ‘trying to expand’ on the Davis trade to create a max-contract slot for free agency, the Lakers reportedly are ‘aggressively pursuing’ second round draft picks.
If the Lakers are successful, Davis, LeBron James, and Kyle Kuzma would be the only players under contract. As a result, second round draft picks are a path to filling out the roster without it impacting the team’s cap space on June 30.
At this point, all of the attention remains on the team’s cap space ranging from $23.7-$32.5 million. The $8.8 million is a significant difference in their ability to pursue a third All-Star player like Kawhi Leonard or 2-3 quality role players.
While there will be questions about if the Lakers were aware of the timing of the trade, Davis fulfills the team’s goals of winning with James now and for the next 6-7 seasons.