Last night already brought a lot of heat to what is going to be an interesting and exciting offseason. All NBA power forward Anthony Davis, who had wanted to be traded since January, finally got his wish and was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers. Ever since Davis wanted to be traded, the Lakers kept offering lots of players to the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis, but the Pelicans kept refusing. Their final offer included Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zuba, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, and two first-round picks. But by (surprisingly) getting the no. 4 pick, it drew enough interest from the Pelicans to accept a trade package of Ball, Ingram, Hart, their pick, a protected top 8 pick in 2021, the right to swap first-round picks with the Lakers in 2023, and an unprotected 2024 first-round pick that New Orleans can defer to 2025. So now that we know what both teams got, let's go over how these players and picks will impact their teams.
For the Lakers, they are getting a superstar talent in Davis, which shows their commitment to winning a championship now. His accomplishments in 7 seasons, include 6 consecutive all star appearances, All NBA 3 times, and made All NBA Defensive First Team and finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2018. His career averages are 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. In his 2 playoff appearances, they've gone up to 30.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. His best attributes, are finishing at the rim, blocking shots, and rebounding. However, he has became a much better ball-handler and shooter over the past few years. When he puts on the purple and gold, he and LeBron James will function as well as any duo can function on the court. Free agency will present less of a challenge, as recent reports have indicated an increased interest of Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard wanting to play in L.A. Ever since the season ended, it's been a rough 9 weeks for the Lakers. So by getting Davis, they not only checked off a major priority going into the offseason, but it now puts restored faith in this organization in their road back to glory.
The Pelicans, on the other hand, are investing in their long term future. They have enough assets that can team up with Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle (if the Pelicans resign him), to form a competitive young core for the future. Lonzo Ball is one of the top passers and defenders at the point guard position. If he can maintain his defensive talent after injuring his ankle and become a reliable shooter, the Pelicans have a nice backcourt duo in Ball and Jrue Holiday in the years to come. Their wing players, will be Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram: two players that have been getting more comfortable in this league and should be able to shine on a team that's willing to get better over time. Before the draft lottery, it was crazy to think that New Orleans would even get into the top 5 for this year's draft, for example, but they now have 2 top 5 picks. The first will be Zion Williamson, while De'Andre Hunter would make sense at no. 4. No one really knows what the picks in the next decade will be. For now, maybe it will prove that forming a team designed to steadily progress long term may be better than a team trying to make a big jump towards winning a championship in the short term.
This trade was something that was going to happen for a long time. It feels like it was meant to be. We as NBA fans always expected Los Angeles would eventually get Davis. We knew that Rich Paul, who is the agent of James and Davis, would have a big role in these wild times, Most importantly, now we have a trade that shows both teams' opposite goals based on what they received. One team wants to win now and the other team wants to win over time. Get ready NBA fans. This is only the beginning of what's going to be a compelling offseason.
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