The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the biggest winners of the 2019 draft lottery, winning the No. 4 pick after having the 11th-best odds to snag No. 1.
That doesn't mean they'll stay there.
"I would be very surprised if that fourth pick—first of all, I'd be surprised if they picked that, make that pick, then I'd be surprised if that pick is on their roster come the 2019-20 season," Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said Wednesday.
The Lakers could use the fourth pick, along with other young assets on their roster, to make a trade for a veteran star next to LeBron James. Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans in January, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the time that the Lakers were his preferred destination.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka called the fourth pick a "powerful asset" during a conference call and made it clear the team will at least explore trading the pick:
"The balance is this: on one side we have we feel like one of the best young cores in the league, and to add the fourth pick in the 2019 Draft to that young core certainly makes it more compelling. And then on the other side, we want to do all we can to have an incredibly successful and winning season next year. And I think this tool can be used to enhance the overall talent on our team in a trade as well. I think we'll look at a number of different things.
"The front office will be very methodical in our research and will look at everything. And I think around the draft we'll get clarity, and then of course we're excited about July 1 and the flexibility we have there. And the promise of free agency this year. Two really exciting events, the draft and free agency, for us to look forward to and plan around."
The Lakers did not sign James to continue building a young core. The moment he came aboard, despite public proclamations otherwise, every young player on the roster became trade bait for a potential superstar. The Lakers reportedly tried to throw everyone over the boat at the deadline in an effort to trade for Davis, but the Pelicans did not budge.
Adding the fourth pick to an asset list that included Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart is an attractive trade package. Whether Pelinka is as willing to give up all of those assets as it appeared the Lakers were at the deadline is another question.
If the Lakers can pull off a Davis trade before the draft, it would be a surprise if they didn't include the No. 4 pick. If New Orleans goes in another direction, it may be more likely that the Lakers hold on to the pick's rights into the summer.
The Lakers are planning to be active in free agency this summer and will have to be careful with how much salary they bring in to keep a max-level salary slot.