The key to an Anthony Davis trade may depend on who the Los Angeles Lakers can find with the fourth pick in the 2019 draft.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans were in trade talks over Davis. The Lakers’ offer reportedly included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the fourth pick in the draft.
However, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported, the Pelicans believe a third team may be needed to get them all of the assets they want for Davis in a trade.
As The New York Times’ Marc Stein told “The Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday: “For the Lakers, it’s really going to hinge on that No. 4 pick. They are going to have to find someone out there that really likes that No. 4 pick and is gonna give New Orleans something more appealing than what’s currently on the table. Because the Lakers by themselves, they don’t have enough to get Anthony Davis.”
The problem for the Lakers is that many people consider this year’s draft to be top-heavy, with three elite prospects — Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett.
Current mock drafts have the Lakers looking at Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, or Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. All three players have solid potential but are deemed to be in another tier from the top three prospects.
Who, exactly, the Lakers could get for the fourth pick is unclear. It seems as if most All-Star players would not be available for the fourth pick. That could leave the Lakers pursuing solid, impactful role players, but perhaps not quite the level of player the Pelicans reportedly want for Davis. Some reporters in the NBA world have taken guesses at what the Lakers could get with the fourth pick.
Stein and the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner have both reported that the Lakers had not included third-year forward Kyle Kuzma in their offer. The Lakers reportedly hope to hold onto Kuzma, but there is a feeling in the NBA world that they would include Kuzma if it pushed the deal over the finish line.
As Stein tweeted on Thursday, the Lakers may need to increase their offer quickly, as the NBA draft is on Thursday, June 20. Davis could be the key to the Lakers landing other top free agents.
Other teams are in the race for Davis, but they each have issues of their own.
The Boston Celtics could still perhaps make the best offer for Davis, but the uncertainty around Kyrie Irving’s future makes dealing for Davis risky. The Celtics could give up their best assets for Davis, lose Irving in free agency, then lose Davis to free agency next year.
According to various reports, the Pelicans are not as interested in the assets the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers have to offer.
The clock is ticking on a deal if the Pelicans want assets in this draft. Even with a short runway, Stein said he believes the Pelicans are going to make out well in a Davis trade.
“I think they’re going to come out of this with a really good team,” Stein told Dan Patrick. “[Pelicans GM] David Griffin, he’s going to trade him eventually, and he’s going to get a lot for Anthony Davis.”