The NBA landscape shifted in the offseason when the New Orleans Pelicans finally decided to pull the trigger and trade franchise centerpiece Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers — his long rumored destination.
The teams face off for the first time since the blockbuster trade on Wednesday night at Smoothie King Center.
To get the All-World big man, the Lakers had to give up a huge haul, which included a bevy of young stars and first round picks.
Here’s the details of what the Lakers sent to the Pelicans to pair Davis with LeBron Games in Los Angeles:
- Lonzo Ball (No. 2 overall pick in 2017 draft)
- Brandon Ingram (No. 2 pick in 2016 draft)
- Josh Hart (No. 30 pick in 2017 draft)
- Three first-round picks
- Anthony Davis (No. 1 overall pick in 2012)
“Anthony Davis is arguably the most dominant all-around young player in today’s NBA,” said general manager Rob Pelinka following the move. “Anthony represents everything we stand for, with his unwavering commitment to excellence as both a person and athlete. This is a historic moment for the Lakers franchise, and we couldn’t be more proud to have him.”
Anthony Davis Turns Lakers Into Legitimate Contender
It was one of the single largest hauls for a single player, but has proven to be well worth it. Davis has meshed well next to James, helping lead the Lakers to a NBA-best 15-2 record.
The matchup with the Pelicans will be Davis’ first trip back to the face the franchise he called home for seven seasons. He expects the boo birds to come out.
“I’m pretty sure every time I catch the ball, it’s probably going to be boos and stuff like that,” Davis said. “Obviously they’re fans of the Pelicans. And I understand why they feel that way, but it’s all love on my end.”
Luckily, he has a teammate by his side that knows something about returning to hostile territory. Having left two
“I talked to him,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, “because I know what it’s like going into a situation where you would call home for seven years. … He’s a kid when he got there, and he became a man along that seven-year journey, so it’s just going to be a different situation for him personally.”
Last season amid the trade drama and his obvious want to get out of town, Davis was booed at home by Pelicans fans when took the floor.
“[I] felt like I was on the other side,” Davis said. “I got a little taste of it, but I know it’s going to be even worse.”
Brandon Ingram Playing at an All-Star Level With Pelicans
The Pelicans are treading water at 6-11, trying to stay out of the basement of the Western Conference as they wait for this year’s No. 1 pick Zion Williamson to return from injury.
Ingram seems comfortable out of the spotlight of Los Angeles. He is averaging career-bests of 26.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game with the Pelicans.
He’s not building up the rematch too much with his former team.
“I look at it as a regular game,” Ingram told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s no bad blood. Nothing but respect to that organization. That’s the organization that drafted us, so they made our dream come true. We know in any game we have to be the aggressor coming in every single night, on the defensive end first of all. I think that helps out the rhythm of our offense. We are going to try to come in aggressive and have that be our identity.”
Lonzo ball has dealt with injury, but has averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He’s shooting 38.7 percent from the field in 27.1 minutes played.
Josh Hart is questionable with knee and ankle injures to face his former team. Hart has played in 10 games this season, starting four. He’s averaging a career-highs in minutes played (27.7), points (12.6) and rebounds (6.6).