With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s going to lead to plenty of speculation on possible deals ramping up. And there may be no possible trade more talked about than the one involving the Los Angeles Lakers and their push for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Although the Lakers can create a strong package for Davis, the Pelicans understandably have virtually no interest in dealing him.
Realistically, there’s a reason to believe that if Davis is traded, that it would come during the offseason. At that point, the team will have a better idea as to whether or not he’ll re-sign longterm, and if he won’t, they can still collect a solid return of assets in a deal. It’s no guarantee that will be the case, but it’s at least worth keeping in mind.
If the Lakers and Pelicans were to make a deal, it’s expected Brandon Ingram would have to be a part of it, so we created three different options built around the young point-forward. Each trade is built with the focus being on this season, though, so let’s break the scenarios down and offer a bit of insight.
*Note: All trades created with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
The Lakers’ Lonzo Ball-Anthony Davis Trade
While rumblings point to Lonzo Ball being a possible trade option, it’s worth noting that if this deal happened it would leave the Lakers in search of a new point guard after the season. I tacked Frank Jackson onto the deal, who’s proven to be a solid backup and could play behind Rajon Rondo throughout the remainder of this year.
I’m personally not entirely sold that the Lakers would actually trade Ball, but if it’s a demand of any Davis deal, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t at least consider including him.
As you’ll find in each of these deals, the contract of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was nearly a must-add for any trade which brings Davis to town. The Pelicans would have both Ball and Elfrid Payton at point guard, but the latter is only on a one-year deal, so that situation would clear up quickly.
Lakers Offer Huge Haul for Anthony Davis
Thanks to the recent emergence of Ivica Zubac, this deal gets a whole lot more appealing. If the Pelicans view Zubac as a legitimate starter in the NBA, then they are adding multiple intriguing pieces. Obviously, New Orleans would have to re-sign Zubac when the time comes, but they would get the opportunity to decide what direction they want to go at that point.
If the Pelicans opted against re-signing Zubac, this deal has his contract, along with Caldwell-Pope’s coming off the books. It also provides two inexpensive deals moving forward and provides cap space to make a big push in free agency.
The addition of Josh Hart with Ingram is a fairly large one, as the young guard has flashed solid upside and could thrive in the Pelicans system. It’s a lot for the Lakers to give up, but Davis isn’t the type of talent that comes along often. I’m assuming the front office wouldn’t flinch at making this trade.
Lakers Pick-Heavy Trade Offer for Anthony Davis
*Lakers trade one unprotected first-round pick and one protected first-rounder.
I built this deal (with the picks) under the thought process that the Pelicans may not view Zubac as a potential long-term answer at center (it’s anyone’s guess). If that’s the case, then the Lakers could tack on a few draft picks to sweeten the deal. Obviously, anytime you give up an unprotected first-round pick it’s somewhat scary, but if they make that a 2020 selection, there’s a good chance it’s at the very bottom of the round.
This deal gives the core of Ingram, Caldwell-Pope and Zubac, as well as some depth and an additional scorer off the bench in Lance Stephenson. Without draft picks, it’s tough to envision New Orleans accepting this deal.