Windhorst: Lakers' Anthony Davis Trade with Pelicans Is Nets-Celtics Part 2

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

FILE - In this March 16, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis brings the ball up during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in New Orleans. Two people familiar with the situation say the Pelicans have agreed to trade Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for point guard Lonzo Ball, forward Brandon Ingram, shooting guard Josh Hart and three first-round draft choices. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot become official until the new league year begins July 6. ESPN first reported the trade.(AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are happy about getting Anthony Davis, but their reported trade with the New Orleans Pelicans could have serious consequences down the line.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN initially reported the Lakers gave up three first-round picks in addition to Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart. However, this deal could extend for quite a few years.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps provided a breakdown of the picks changing hands:

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.

As Ramona Shelburne of ESPN explained, the Pelicans didn't want Los Angeles' pick for 2020 but "essentially have control of the Lakers draft for the next seven years" thanks to pick swaps.

"What they gave up for him is potentially scandalous," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Saturday. "...Not all the details are out there yet...It is the Nets-Celtics trade part 2...What they gave was one of the most lopsided trades in terms of draft compensation in league history."

The Brooklyn Nets were initially declared winners of a 2013 trade to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics, making them instant contenders in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, the three unprotected picks, plus a first-round swap in 2017 ended up being quite valuable.

Boston ended up with the No. 3 pick in 2016 (used on Jaylen Brown) and the No. 1 pick in 2017 (the team traded back to No. 3 and selected Jayson Tatum). The 2018 pick helped the Celtics land Kyrie Irving in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While the Lakers will likely be a top team next season with Davis and LeBron James, it will be hard to stay on top forever as James ages and eventually retires.

If Los Angeles falls back out of contention in four years, those picks could end up becoming quite valuable for New Orleans. Even if the Lakers win it all in 2020, it might take years to truly evaluate how New Orleans fared on its end of the deal.