The impact of Saturday’s Anthony Davis trade on the two teams involved is abundantly obvious.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, they now have two top-five players in the NBA — LeBron James, who is nearing the end of his prime, and Davis, who is still toward the beginning of his. If you can make that trade, no matter the cost, you make that trade. Then you figure out the rest later. The Lakers ought to be considered among the favorites for the 2020 NBA title.
For the New Orleans Pelicans, they turned one season of Davis before he could leave in free agency into an absolute monster haul that should bolster this franchise for the foreseeable future. The Zion Williamson era will begin by pairing the transcendent 18-year-old superstar with two youngsters who were both No. 2 overall picks as recently as 2016 and 2017. While there are questions around Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, both have All-Star upside. Plus the Pelicans get a versatile rotation player in Josh Hart who can be plugged in anywhere, the No. 4 pick in this week’s draft, two more upcoming first-round picks, plus an unprotected pick swap in 2023. Whoa.
Perhaps the biggest loser in the Lakers-Pelicans deal is the Boston Celtics. Ainge had masterfully positioned his Celtics to be the next big power in the NBA. He had all the assets to make a Davis deal possible. But Davis’ insistence that a trade to Boston would only be a one-year rental may have tempered Ainge’s desire to give the Pelicans a true motherlode of assets (read as: Jayson Tatum). And with Kyrie Irving going from a forever-Celtic back in the fall to get-me-out-of-here Kyrie as he heads into free agency, the Celtics’ future isn’t nearly as bright as we thought it would be. They now have a solid young core in Tatum and Jaylen Brown, an absolute winner in Marcus Smart, and after that? Nothing but uncertainty.
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