NBA Rumors: Post-2019 Lottery Draft Buzz on Pelicans, Lakers and More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2019

Even though the Pelicans won the draft lottery, Anthony Davis still wants to be traded out of New Orleans.
Even though the Pelicans won the draft lottery, Anthony Davis still wants to be traded out of New Orleans.Associated Press

The NBA draft lottery turned out to be quite a shocker as only one of the four teams that had the worst records in the league this year will have a top-four pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

That team is the New York Knicks, who will have the third pick in the draft, but there is no celebration in the Big Apple. That's because the Knicks, who had the worst regular-season record in the league at 17-65, had high hopes of securing the No. 1 pick with the opportunity to drat Duke power forward Zion Williamson.

The ping pong balls did not bounce in the Knicks' favor, and instead bounced straight to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans are in rebuilding mode and have been since star center Anthony Davis asked to be traded in January. When the Pelicans won the draft lottery, the immediate thought was that the idea of playing with the game-changing Williamson might alter Davis's stance.

That apparently is not the case. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Davis still wants to be traded out of New Orleans, according to league sources.

However, don't expect Pelicans general manager David Griffin to simply give up on the idea of retaining Davis. After his team won the lottery, Griffin told ESPN's Maria Taylor he had "a lot of work to do," and that work may include making a case to Davis to remain in New Orleans.

The situation is likely to play out at or before the NBA draft, which is scheduled for June 20.

If Davis holds onto the position and continues to push for the trade, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are likely to be in hot pursuit of his services.

The Knicks can't offer the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft because the Pels already own it. However, the Knicks have the No. 3 pick at their disposal, while the Lakers have the No. 4 selection.

ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne pointed out that the Knicks and Lakers are likely to be in competition with each other in their attempt to improve prior to the 2019-20 season.

Other teams that figure to be in pursuit of Davis include the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Knicks may be disappointed as a result of the lottery's outcome, but they are moving ahead and preparing for the June 20 draft.

They have the No. 3 selection, and that means they should have an opportunity to draft RJ Barrett of Duke, with Williamson going first to the Pelicans and Ja Morant likely to be the second pick to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Knicks are meeting with Barrett in Chicago at the NBA Draft Combine Wednesday, per Adam Zagoria of the New York Times.

If Barrett is a consolation prize, it should be noted that Barrett was looked at as a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft just one year ago. He is clearly a player who can help a team that struggled mightily last year and had the worst record in the league.

The Knicks are also expected to be heavily involved in the free-agent market. According to Spotrac, New York has nearly $73 million in practical cap space for the 2019-20 season.

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