Although the New Orleans Pelicans have continuously made it known how little their interest in trading Anthony Davis is, some consider a deal to be a foregone conclusion. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far just yet, but if the Pelicans do choose to deal their young star, they’re going to receive a huge haul – even if it’s already known Davis won’t re-sign in New Orleans. And the team who can put together arguably the strongest offer possible is still the Los Angeles Lakers.
While a few of the Lakers’ young pieces have been up-and-down through the 2018-19 NBA season, the upside for virtually each of them is wildly apparent. Even still, there’s no “even” trade for a player like Davis, but Magic Johnson and company could at least provide a package that would address a few key areas of need for the Pelicans.
Specifically, it would add players capable of producing in a variety of ways and most importantly, options who can put the ball in the hoop consistently. To this point, it’s seemed as though the Lakers have remained intent on keeping second-year forward Kyle Kuzma out of the mix, and this deal does just that.
Let’s check out one Lakers trade for Davis which keeps Kuzma in Los Angeles, but still gets the Pelicans a strong return.
Lakers’ Potential Trade Package for Anthony Davis
*Note: Trade courtesy of ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine
To clarify one more time, there’s just no deal that will completely replace the value a player like Davis provides. With that said, the Pelicans would pick up a few interesting pieces here, including point-forward Brandon Ingram, who’s proven capable of running the Lakers offense. Beyond that, he can create his own shot and is knocking down 47 percent of his field goals through 34 games this season.
Before going further with the other players in this potential deal, it’s worth noting that the average age of the four players New Orleans would pick up is 22.5 years old. Ingram and Ivica Zubac are both 21, Josh Hart is 23 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is 25.
The Pelicans would be acquiring young pieces who can contribute on both ends and also provide outside shooting. While Caldwell-Pope and Hart have been streaky this season from beyond the arc, both have shown the ability to get hot from outside. New Orleans would also add a big man in Zubac who’s come into his own this season and seems to have a bright future. Zubac would also play a decent role in helping to replace Davis.
Future Outlook of Deal for Pelicans & Lakers
On the Lakers side, it’s obvious how this looks. The fact they could potentially keep Kuzma to pair with Davis, LeBron James and Lonzo Ball moving forward would be huge. They’d immediately boast one of the best starting lineups in the NBA and their title chances would skyrocket in both the current season and many beyond.
The situation for the Pelicans here is interesting, as they have two key players in Hart and Ingram under contract, but then have decisions with Zubac and Caldwell-Pope after the year. If the team wants to make a big run in free agency, they can let the two players walk without trying to re-sign them. In turn, it would open up the opportunity for the franchise to hopefully escalate their rebuild after trading Davis.
With the NBA trade deadline approaching, it’ll be interesting to see what the Pelicans opt to do with Davis. But one thing that seems certain is that if they choose to take offers, the Lakers will be at the front of the line looking to swing a deal.