Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans Agree to Trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers
Davis, who asked to be traded in January, headed for Los Angeles in exchange for young stars such as Lonzo Ball and the pioneers.
Anthony Davis, one of NBA’s most influential people, joins LeBron James in Los Angeles after the Lakers accepted a blockbuster deal with the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
In exchange for Davis, the Lakers are sending a huge trip to New Orleans: Guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, ahead of Brandon Ingram and three pioneers in the first round, including the 4th this year’s project. But the Lakers were willing to dissociate themselves from all of these goods so they could knock Davis with James, which had been clear for months – dating all the way to February, when Lakers tried and failed to conclude understanding for Davis – that he wanted to play with him.
Trade was confirmed by two people who know the transaction and who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. ESPN reported the business for the first time.
The Lakers undoubtedly felt a great urgency to trade for Davis after an extremely disappointing season, the first James in Los Angeles. They finished well in the playoff controversy with a record 37-45 after James lost a significant portion of the second half of the season with a bust lesion.
James was still very productive when he was healthy, averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 assists, and 8.5 rebounds in 55 games. But now he is preparing for the 17th season at the age of 34 and has three years of contract with the Lakers who want to maximize the time he has left as one of the league’s best players.
With that in mind, the Lakers plan to make a strong push to sign Charlotte’s Kemba Walker when free agency begins on June 30, according to two people familiar with their plans who were not authorized to discuss them publicly.
The Lakers are expecting to have more than $30 million in salary-cap space to pursue Walker to fill their void in the backcourt created by the departure of Ball and Hart. Walker, a three-time All-Star, has said he will give the Hornets first crack to re-sign him but is also expected to be pursued aggressively by the Dallas Mavericks as well as the Lakers.
James, a four-time N.B.A. most valuable player, still wants to vie for championships, and the race in the Western Conference next season may be fairly wide open as the Golden State Warriors face something of a modest rebuild of their own after Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, two members of their All-Star core, sustained devastating injuries in the N.B.A. finals.
Both players are bound for free agency, and while Thompson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, is likely to re-sign with the Warriors, Durant will still have several suitors despite tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the finals. The Toronto Raptors clinched that series on Thursday to prevent the Warriors’ bid for three straight championships.
Last season, Davis told the Pelicans that he wanted to be dealt ahead of the league’s February trade deadline and listed the Lakers as one of his preferred destinations. But the Pelicans rebuffed several overtures from the Lakers, choosing instead to keep Davis and weigh their options after the season. The Lakers surrendered numerous assets to get Davis, but they did manage to keep forward Kyle Kuzma out of the trade. The New York Times first reported last week that the Lakers were adamant about keeping Kuzma out of the deal.
Davis, a six-time All-Star and the top overall pick in the 2012 draft, averaged 25.9 points and 12 rebounds with the Pelicans last season. Davis, 26, can become a free agent in 2020, but the Lakers are confident they can keep him long-term.
After their season ended, the Pelicans hired David Griffin, the former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as their executive vice president for basketball operations. Griffin had been on the job for about a month when the Pelicans had the good fortune of winning the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery, a pick they will almost assuredly use on Duke’s Zion Williamson, a phenomenal talent.
In addition to the three first-round picks, the Pelicans are receiving three promising players from the Lakers.
Ball, 21, was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft but had two injury-marred seasons with the Lakers. Last season, he averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 assists in 47 games. Ingram, 21, has revealed glimpses of brilliance as a lanky scorer, averaging 18.3 points while shooting 49.7 percent from the field last season. Hart averaged 7.8 points last season.