In a blockbuster deal, the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly agreed to trade All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported details of the move sending the 26-year-old to the Lakers, noting the Pelicans will receive Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. "The deal will be completed on July 6, sources said," per Wojnarowski.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
For now, expectation is Anthony Davis trade will be completed on July 6, league sources tell @BobbyMarks42 and me. Assuming Davis declines to void $4M trade bonus, this leaves Lakers with $23.7M in space. There is chance that could be amended to July 30, but it’s still 6th now.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
If Pelicans and Lakers waited until July 30 to complete trade, Lakers could’ve had $32.5M in cap space --- enough to pursue a max level free agent. By waiting 30 days, Lakers would be acting like a team over the cap and thus allowed to use 4th overall pick in draft as salary. https://t.co/BdKtxFtvai
ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps provided a breakdown of the Pelicans' complete draft-pick haul:
Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
The Pelicans will get the following picks from the Lakers, league sources tell ESPN: No. 4 pick in 2019 Top-8 protected in 2021, becomes unprotected in ‘22 Unprotected swap in ‘23 Unprotected first in ‘24 Unprotected swap in ‘25 Tremendous haul for David Griffin & the Pelicans.
The New York Times' Marc Stein reported the Lakers will now target Kemba Walker after reaching an agreement for Davis. Stein also reported the Boston Celtics refused to include Jayson Tatum in trade talks centered around Davis.
Things seemed to fall apart quickly for Davis and the Pelicans last season. The franchise was coming off the high of its first playoff series win since 2007-08 by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.
It was a modest success, but it appeared to be a sign of improvement. The 2018-19 campaign was a dramatic reversal for the franchise. After a 4-0 start, New Orleans went 29-49 the rest of the season.
Per Wojnarowski, Davis' agent, Rich Paul, informed the Pelicans in January his client wouldn't sign an extension with the team and has asked for a trade.
According to Wojnarowski, Davis "has long planned to sign a new contract with the Lakers once he becomes eligible for free agency in 2020."
New Orleans hired David Griffin as executive vice president of basketball operations in April, and he maintained a desire to keep the Kentucky product and build around his All-Star big man.
"I'm extremely optimistic relative to the opportunity that lies ahead of us in the form of Anthony Davis," Griffin told reporters in April.
Things bounced in the Pelicans' favor when they won the NBA draft lottery to secure the No. 1 overall pick, giving them the opportunity to select Zion Williamson.
Despite the possibility of adding a potential superstar, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Davis' stance on wanting to be traded didn't change.
On June 4, Charania reported Griffin had begun taking calls from teams interested in putting together a package for Davis.
The Pelicans were stuck between a rock and hard place with their franchise player, and Griffin ultimately made the deal he believes will be in the best long-term interest of the team.
Even with an enticing group of potential free agents to pick from, including Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, they were able to pull off their greatest coup by acquiring Davis.
Davis is at an age where he will be able to shoulder a heavy load. James, for all his natural talent and physical gifts, will start to slow down as he prepares to turn 35 in December.
After a notable offseason that started with Magic Johnson's surprise resignation as president of basketball operations and was followed by the long search for a head coach that eventually ended with Frank Vogel taking over, the team needed something big to happen.
Even in a loaded Western Conference, the Lakers can put themselves near or at the top with Davis on board.