The Lakers finally landed Anthony Davis. After a trade demand midway through this past season, an openly flirtation with the Lakers, tampering beyond belief, Rich Paul basically getting 2 guys fired, and the Lakers offering up the majority of their young talent, the trade finally happened. Well, technically it isn't official yet, we have to wait until early July. But, both parties have an agreement that Davis will be a Laker, and the Pelicans will get Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and 3 future first round picks, including the number 4 pick in this Thursday's draft.
To me, I feel like both teams got what they wanted. If you were to tell me I had to pick a "winner" of this trade though, I would say New Orleans won, and they won it by a mile. Yes, they have to give up Davis, who when healthy is a top 3 player in the league, and pairing him with LeBron, albeit at age 35, they will make a very formidable front court. But, the Lakers had to mortgage their future for what may only be 2 years of top notch basketball. LeBron is getting older, that is just a fact. He also missed the most time of his career due to injury last year. He also looked a step slower, and his jumper, while never good, was not effective at all last year. But Davis is awesome and young. He is a force on defense, he can rebound with the best of them, his jump shot is much improved, and when engaged, or not hurt, he is nearly unstoppable. He will also be out to prove something next year.
But, unless the Lakers can get another top level guy to come over on a deal worth much less than they expect, their roster is decimated. I saw a snapshot of the roster now, and outside of LeBron and Davis, it is bleak. They were able to keep Kyle Kuzma, who was, for some unknown reason, almost the guy who was the make or break player in this deal. Sure, he is a good scorer, and he can kind of hit threes, but he is a big minus on defense, and he will now have to be the third or fourth option. I don't know if he will like that. All the guys he came in the league with too, and had befriended, they are gone. He is the lone young player on the Lakers now. They we have guys like Mo Wagner, who can't rebound or play defense, Rajon Rondo, who is about a million years old, Lance Stephenson. who should have been out of the league 2 years ago, Issac Bonga, who I know zero about, Tyson Chandler, who is older than Rondo and Alex Caruso, who looks like the dude you hate to play in your local rec league. Dare I say, the Lakers bench is worse than the Warriors bench right now. Again, this can change if they get a Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler, but I don't see that happening. But, kudos to LeBron, Rich Paul and Anthony Davis, you whined your way to a trade to the Lakers, even if it meant destroying your future. It is now more clear than ever who runs the Lakers.
On the other hand, the Pelicans absolutely crushed this deal. They traded away a disgruntled player for 3 young guys that have certain skills they need, and first round picks for three years. They have the number one and number 4 pick in the upcoming draft. And lets say the Lakers have solid seasons the next 2 years, they will still get their pick, plus a second first rounder in the next 2 drafts. That is some Danny Ainge dealing KG and Paul Pierce to the Nets type shit. This is a homerun of a deal. I know Jrue Holiday was upset when Davis asked out, but if I were him now, I would be very excited for the future of the team. He is still there, and he is an underrated guy, plus he has all this young talent coming to play on his team. The Pelicans don't have to immediately blow it up and rebuild now. Holiday can slide over to the 2, and Ball can be the point. While I have been very tough on Ball as a player, he is a good point guard. He has great court vision, is a willing passer and plays solid defense. His shot is pure trash, but he won't need to shoot too much on this team. This may be the best thing for him too, getting himself and his dad out of LA. I still think very highly of Brandon Ingram. He is one Duke guy that I actually like. He also started to show flashes last season of what he can do. He is a long and lanky shooter. He can also get to the rim very quickly. His long stride is very good for the fast break. I bet of all the players traded yesterday he is the happiest. He looked miserable playing next to LeBron last year. Now he has a fresh start, and he will be one of the go to guys in New Orleans. Josh Hart was one of the few young guys that LeBron counted on last year. That shows maturity to me. The fact that he was willing to do what was best for the team is a trait I love in professional players. By the way, he can shoot and play defense as well. Hart will step in right away and be a solid contributor, do the little things asked of him, and I bet he will become an instant fan favorite. The Pelicans, who own the first pick, are going to take Zion on Thursday. That is the type of star power they need to replace Davis. Zion is not Davis, not yet at least, but he might be the best prospect since Davis. This kid is an amazing leaper with good passing skills and a willingness to play defense and be coached. He may not have been happy when New Orleans won the draft lottery, but if I were him now, I'd be stoked looking at this current team he's about to be on. The combo of him and Ball, especially on fast breaks, is going to be awesome. Zion will also get Ingram and Hart plenty of open looks. He will help out Holiday a ton. This is as about a perfect situation as a rookie can get. And with the fourth pick, they can go strictly based on need, and get a pretty talented player. I don't think they will get Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, and I don't see them taking a point guard like Darius Garland or Coby White due to who they acquired in the trade. But that means they can look at a guy like Jaxson Hayes, the big center from Texas. Or they can check in on DeAndre Hunter, a solid shooting 3 or 4 who plays defense. Jarrett Culver could be another option for them as a solid backup to Holiday. Brandon Clarke could be on their radar now. They can look at some overseas talent. They have, pretty much, endless options for the upcoming draft.
This was the homerun the Pelicans wanted to get with this Davis deal, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. The Lakers should also be happy in this deal. They all got what they wanted. I will just say, I am more pumped to watch the Pelicans than the Lakers next year after this trade. They should be the more fun team to watch on League Pass.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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