On Saturday June 15, 2019, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN gave us the news we were waiting for. The Lakers have acquired Anthonty Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade.
It’s been known since this past NBA trade deadline that the Lakers had their sights on Anthony Davis and vice-versa. Unfortunately, during that time the previous general manager for the Pelicans (Dell Demps) was asking for the entire Lakers roster and then some. It was a mess as information leaked about the proposed trade, and at the end made both teams look bad. The Lakers didn’t end up with Davis, and team chemistry disintegrated before our very eyes. The Lakers ulitmately missed the playoffs and many wondered if the proposed trade mess had something to do with it.
Fast forward to today, and the Lakers pulled off the trade, with now general manager David Griffin at the helm of the Pelicans. The Lakers traded away Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, three first-round picks including this year’s no.4 pick. The Lakers did however manage to keep Kyle Kuzma who they are very high on as the only survivor of the Lakers young core. This trade may seem lopsided at first when you think about what the Lakers had to give up, but the way the Lakers operate, it should come as no shock to why they did this. If you look at the history of the Lakers, they always seem to acquire stars to improve the team. It started in 1968 when a blockbuster trade occured between the 76ers and Lakers. The Lakers traded Darrall Imhoff, Jerry Chambers and Archie Clark to Philadelphia for Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain went on to win a title in 1972 with the Lakers. In 1975 another major trade happened when the Lakers traded Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman to the Bucks for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley. Kareem went on to win 5 NBA titles with the Lakers. In 1996, the Lakers acquired big man Shaquille O’Neal in free agency. O’Neal went on to win 3 NBA titles with the Lakers. In 2008, the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies who then went on to win 2 NBA titles with the Lakers. As you can see, the Lakers have a pattern on getting perennial big men and winning championships. Now that they have acquired Davis, it could be an even brighter future in Los Angeles.
First off, this an a great trade for both teams and it was much needed. The Pelicans have the no.1 pick in this year’s draft and it’s likely they will choose phenom Zion Williamson. They also needed good young pieces to surround him and be in the starting lineup. That is where the services of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram come into play. They will be a force to reckon with in the forseeable future. For the Lakers, they simply had to get this done. After all the front office criticism at the end of the season, and rumblings of fans being extremely unhappy with the franchise, this puts back some faith in the organization. They also have to take advantage of the time LeBron James has in Los Angeles and not let it go to waste. The Lakers get a player who is just in the beginning of his prime to pair with LeBron James and that could be a combination for success. Even after James is gone from the game, the Lakers would presumably still have Davis for some years. They team would still find pieces to build around the big man and hopefully win mulitple championships.
The Lakers still have some ways to go since they still have to fill out their roster. It would be smart of them to use the rest of the remaining money on shooters who could also defend. Some names out there that are rumored are Patrick Beverly, JJ Redick, Malcom Brogdon, etc. Their main offense will be Davis and James. They will definiately need some depth as well if they are to make a deep post-season run next season. On paper, the Lakers look like a formidable force with just Davis and James alone. They could even be better if they get the right pieces in play.
It’s no secret that this year’s upcoming 2019 NBA free agency is a big one that can shift the balance of power in the NBA. With the Golden State Warriors being hampered by injuries, no one knows how good they’ll be with Durant and Thompson likely going to miss a significant amount of time next season. In Durant’s case, he’ll be one of the most sought out free agents. In Toronto, current Finals MVP, and argueably the best player on the planet, Kawhi Leonard becomes a free agent. There will be a lot of implications once free agency begins June 30, 6PM EST.
As for the Lakers, there have been numerous rumors floating around with names like Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, and yes even Kawhi Leonard as being the top targets. But should the Lakers really consider bringing in another star? First, they’d have to have the money and so far they’re fairly short of $32 mil which they would like to get another max free agent. They can possibly make the numbers work, but it would be a bit of a challenge to do so and would have to find a 3rd or 4th team to initiate things according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.