Since the Anthony Davis deal was announced, social media has been full of opinions on who “won” the trade. Media coverage has been widespread, which has sparked debate between fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The deal does suit both teams, who are on different time-frames. With the Lakers acquiring a second star in an attempt to win instantly, and the Pelicans receiving a solid young core and draft picks, as they opt for, what they hope to be, a short rebuild.
Obviously the coverage that we have been providing has all been from a Lakers perspective. However to balance this, we have reached out to ‘Pelicans UK‘, who were created earlier this month, to get their viewpoint on the trade. We did cover a variety topics, including; Davis’ tenure in New Orleans, the Pelicans’ future moving forward, and more.
Q: We see that you’ve been on Twitter since early June, welcome to the
#NBAintheUK community. How long have you been a Pelicans fan for?
Pelicans UK: “Honestly, I’ve been a fan since around 2007. I remember it was JR’s last season with the Hornets before we traded for Tyson Chandler and finished as the #2 seed (those were the good days) and won the division title before a horrendous game 7 against the Spurs ended our dreams.”
Q: On June 15, the Pelicans and Lakers agreed on a deal for Anthony Davis. What are your views on the deal? Was it better than the package offered at the trade deadline back in February, or was it simply time to end the saga?
Pelicans UK: “It was a solid move from us, we took the emotion out of the trade, something I don’t think Dell Demps was able to do. Griff got the best option on the table and made it into so much more. I wouldn’t change our decision not to trade at the deadline if you gave me the option another 100 times. Actually make that 1000 times. Due to the whole saga, we ranked, ended up getting the 1st pick and a potential once in a generation talent. If the trade had gone ahead in January, there was a small chance we could have reached 8th seed, and you guys would definitely have been in the playoffs.”
Q: The Pelicans have received three brilliant young players in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Laker fans will miss them, that’s for sure. Did you know much about the three before they were acquired? What are your expectations for them moving forward?
Pelicans UK: “The only one I wasn’t sure about was Josh Hart. Everyone knows Lonzo because of his dad, but he’s a lot more than that. He’s a proper old school point guard who, with the ball, makes things happen. Your team suffered with him sidelined and I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit. Ingram we know can easily be a leader if he stays healthy. He’s had glimpses of greatness but now he needs to prove it regularly. I think the key thing with the current roster that all Pels fans need to remember is be patient! Long term, I expect us to have THE best defensive guard partnership in the NBA and potentially with the right moves to be fighting towards the middle of the West (4th/5th place). People might call me mad but damn I’m a dreamer.”
Q: Back in January, Anthony Davis requested a trade away from New Orleans. What were your thoughts when you first saw the news, was it expected or was it assumed that Davis would commit long-term?
Pelicans UK: “There were 2 groups of people in NOLA when this broke. The “OH MY GOD HE WANTS TO LEAVE” group who were stunned by this, and the “it’s finally happened” group who realised he may leave after joining Klutch Sports. I was in the latter but for multiple reasons. After getting swept by the Warriors in the 2018 playoffs, there was a feeling that if we didn’t bring in a big superstar to pair up with AD and Jrue, AD would get distracted. Unfortunately I was right with that.”
Q: Could you provide your thoughts on the Anthony Davis era (2012-2019) in New Orleans, it wasn’t all doom and gloom was it? What was your favourite moment?
Pelicans UK: “The AD era was fun, right up until January. If he had left with some class and respect, he may have gotten the whole number retirement ceremony when he left, but “that’s all folks”. In regards to the best moment, it HAS to be the sweep of the Blazers in last years playoffs. The media were already ruling out the Pelicans, to the stage where every single ESPN pundit chose the Blazers to win, Lillard to dominate over Rondo and Jrue, were some of the headlines. AD turned up, and destroyed everything he saw going forward.”
Q: In the 2019 NBA Draft the Pelicans landed the #1 pick, selecting Zion Williamson, congratulations by the way, along with Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Marcos Louzada Silva. What are your expectations for next season with a whole host of young players? In the long run can the Pelicans develop into a serious contender?
Pelicans UK: “Absolutely I think we could become contenders. We are in a strong position. The overhaul of our front office (David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, Swin Cash, and Aaron Nelson, to name the main ones), the current young roster, cap space, and the future picks. With Griff in charge, and Langdon as GM, I think you give us a few years and everyone is going to be surprised. As for next season, my prediction is 42 to 46 wins, maybe finishing 7th or 8th. It’s a development season next year, guys like Jaxson Hayes will get used to playing the physical level of an NBA 5, hopefully with a decent vet to help him. And obviously Zion will get used to the NBA. But I think with a good off-season, I don’t see why we can’t cause 1/2 surprises. Plus, Lebron has only won 1 game at the Smoothie King since 2013, so we enjoy him coming to us.”
Q: Thank you for answering our questions. All the best for the off-season and the up-and-coming 2019/20 campaign. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see how the ex-Lakers develop!
Pelicans UK: “Good luck with AD, I hope he lives up to your high standards! I would just say he may go off once every 3 games with a small injury, he always comes back later that game!”
By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)