What the Anthony Davis Trade Means to the Lakers, Pelicans, and the NBA
Writer: Joseph Ralston
The Lakers have acquired All-Star Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. This trade has been gaining momentum since the trade deadline during the season, and it has finally come to fruition. The Lakers received Davis, and the Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the 4th pick in the 2019 Draft, and two more first round picks. But what exactly does this trade mean to the parties involved and the rest of the NBA? It means a lot.
The Lakers receiving Anthony Davis is a big win for their team. They gain one of the best big men in the game and pair him with LeBron James, who favors versatile and athletic veterans around him. In 56 games last year, Davis averaged 25.9 points per game, 12 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, and shot 51% from the field. The Center position was one the Lakers lacked in last year, with Wagner, McGee, and Tyson Chandler manning the position. With the acquisition of Davis, a proven scorer and veteran, they’ve positioned themselves to be competitive and a lot to handle on the court. However, the Lakers gave almost all their trade stock and recent picks to get him, and put a serious dent in their available free agent money. They also are gambling on the health of Anthony Davis, who has a long history of injuries and missed games throughout his short career. However, the Lakers needed to do something to be competitive, having not made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season, finishing 10th place or below in the seasons that followed, and the Anthony Davis acquisition could be the spark to get the Lakers back on a winning trend.
The Pelicans, in trading Anthony Davis, have lost their franchise player over the last 7 seasons, however, all is not lost for them. The Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, three players that can be plugged in immediately to their starting rotation. They also received the 4th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft that takes place on Thursday. Pair that with their #1 overall pick they already have, and they could easily have a new starting 5 by the end of the week. What could be a problem is the fact that Lonzo, Ingram, and Hart will all be free agents by 2021, and there’s no guarantee that they will sign to stay with the Pelicans. What could help the Pelicans with that concern, is that other teams have been inquiring about possible trades for Lonzo Ball and the 4th overall pick. In moving these two trade acquisitions, the Pelicans can further improve their team and help their rebuild out tremendously, making the Anthony Davis trade that much beneficial for their franchise.
The Anthony Davis trade also impacts the NBA as a whole. By acquiring Davis, the Lakers have catapulted themselves as favorites for winning the NBA Championship. Especially with the Warriors having Klay and KD out for the 2019/2020 season, the West is up for grabs, and the Lakers seem to be the first to make a move towards taking control of the Conference. The Lakers also do not have a whole lot of cap space available, which means they’re going to have some troubles signing some of the big free agents available and to fill the void of the 3 three players they lost in the trade. The Pelicans having a lot of draft and trade capital also affects the rest of the league. With teams being interested in Ball and the 4th pick, the Pelicans can use their leverage to acquire more rebuild pieces, distribute a quality point guard to a team in need, and or allow for another team to acquire an important draft pick, further improving the balance in the league and competitiveness.
The Anthony Davis trade from the Pelicans to the Lakers is the start of what is going to be a wild summer in the NBA Offseason. The Lakers got a valuable veteran to pair with LeBron as they try to take control of the West, and the Pelicans got great young talent and draft capitol to kickstart their franchise rebuild and fuel future trades with other NBA teams. If this trade sets the precedent for the rest of the summer, we’re in for an exciting ride.