The Anthony Davis Trade from a Pelicans Perspective

(Image/Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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.

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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.”

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(Image/Fox Sports Asia)

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)

What Does a Trade for Anthony Davis Look Like?

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(Image/LA Sports Hub)

The Anthony Davis saga is one that has been rambling on for quite some time now. Since January 28, in fact, when Davis informed the Pelicans that he would not commit to a contract extension this off-season, and requested a trade. Such request was made public almost instantly, with speculation running wild as to where Davis will play his basketball next.

The Lakers appeared to be Davis’ preferred destination and it was almost guaranteed that he would be in the purple and gold come the February 7 trade deadline. Well, that’s what we thought anyway. In short, then President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson, threw every young asset into a trade offer, the Pelicans refused to do business, the deadline passed, and Davis wasn’t moved.

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Last month, New Orleans surprisingly landed the #1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but Davis’ intentions to leave were reportedly still intact despite the eventuality of Zion Williamson becoming a Pelican. This leads us up to June 4, where Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that whilst teams were continuing to place calls on the availability of Anthony Davis, Executive Vice President, David Griffin, had now begun to listen to the offers.

The favourites at the time being touted make a move were; the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and Nets. On June 6, the Nets opened up cap space by trading Allen Crabbe’s $18.5 million contract to the Atlanta Hawks. This was clearly an attempt to lure superstar free agents to Brooklyn this summer, but did involve giving up assets in the process (2019 #17 pick, 2020 1st round pick). Consequently, all but removing them from the race to acquire Davis.

Such move from the Nets has sent media speculation spiraling on Kyrie Irving potentially signing for Brooklyn in free agency, which has led to people debating whether Kevin Durant would link up with Irving, as he appears to want to move East too. It has been widely reported in the past that this link-up would be with the Knicks, but do the Nets now hold the cards? It appears so.

With the walls crumbling around the Knicks, yet again, they may well veer away from the Anthony Davis sweepstakes and opt for a rebuild. On June 11, Ian Begley of SNY suggested that some members of the Knicks organisation are “uncomfortable with the idea” of giving up a multitude of assets to acquire Davis.

In addition, with the Celtics looking ever-so-likely to be losing Kyrie Irving in free agency, is them giving up multiple young players and assets the correct way to go for the franchise long-term? Especially when it could potentially be for a one-year rental. Many debate not.

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(Image/Getty Images)

So where does that leave us? Well, it appears that the market for Anthony Davis may not be that deep after-all. The New Orleans Pelicans are currently stuck with a disgruntled superstar who they are attempting to move via trade in a limited market, ideally before the draft on June 20. Obviously, they will want the best possible package in return, but whether they can actually get what they desire is a different story.

An update was provided on June 10 from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported that David Griffin had started to provide teams of what a suitable package for Davis would look like.

New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has started to provide potential suitors with the framework of the package that he is seeking in a trade for All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, including multi-team scenarios that would expand the Pelicans’ pool of assets in a deal, league sources told ESPN.

Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the asks on the draft picks — and vice versa.

Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN Senior NBA Insider

But for now, we have asked some of our followers on Twitter what they believe an ideal, fair trade package would look like, for Anthony Davis.

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Amandeep (@AmanRai1999):

Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Moritz Wagner, 2019 #4 Pick and 2020/21 1st round picks.

“I’d use this package because I feel you have two guys with tremendous upside. Lonzo-Lavar now is a scary prospect, playing with less pressure and injury free. Ingram post All-Star break was on FIRE averaging around 27 points. Hart is a versatile shooter perfect for the bench and Wagner may be just to help salary. The 2019 pick secures a top prospect. Overall this package sets them up for a dynasty in the future. Maybe swap in Kuzma if they really admired him.”

Ryan (@r_acolley):

Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram OR Kyle Kuzma, 2019 #4 pick, 2020 1st round pick.

“Firstly I think you put the picks in there as I don’t think they are a great loss to the organisation judging on talent left at 4 and what could be available next season in the draft. AD is a fantastic player who can add a lot on both ends of the ball, his stats especially on D can be a real game changer for us. LeBron is clearly desperate for him join which is a massive factor in the decision not only to trade for him but also to bump up the collateral to offer. However, we do have a good group of young players currently on the roster, players that will have (hopefully) matured enough to carry this organisation forward, if need be, when LeBron goes.”

“Therefore is it really worth sacrificing this clearly fantastic group of young talent for one player? If we were to trade for AD, understandably the Pelicans would want the majority of the young core. But I think it’s vital to keep either Ingram or Kuzma. Any deal would have to include Ball, as the Pelicans seem to like him. Hart is a good player but we can cope without him.”

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Alisson (@AlissonDB12):

Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and 2/3 future 1st round picks.

“No team in the league has more than two good young players to offer, so we should definitely keep one, and this one should be Ingram. He’s not just the one with the highest ceiling but he’s also the most proven one and showed he can work with LeBron. What Ingram did after the All-Star break last season was outstanding. The Knicks are our biggest rival in this trade, but even though they have an earlier pick, Kevin Knox and Frank Nkilitina are not even close to Kuz and Ball.”

Mark (@mburland):

Lonzo Ball, 2019 #4 pick, 2022 1st round pick.

“Recent trades involving stars like PG, Kawhi and to an extent Porzingis should all inform what defines reasonable. What do we know? AD wants out and wants to control his destiny. It sounds familiar.”

“I’m not sure the above works salary wise, but let’s be clear, New Orleans lose any trade involving AD. If they get anything more than the above, they’ve come out pretty well.”

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Mohamoud (@Strawhat_mozef):

Lonzo Ball to the Phoenix Suns, 2019 #6 pick to the Lakers.

Brandon Ingram, 2019 #4 pick, 2019 #6 pick to New Orleans.

“This is the thing with AD. Not only is he a perennial All-Star, he could also be the best player in the world for years to come. When you are presented with a player of that calibre you do everything possible to acquire him. The Lakers are in a situation where they have options. Do they contend now, or build their roster around their young players? If we were talking about the Suns or Hawks, then I would always be inclined to say that the bigger picture is more important. For the Lakers, however, it is now or never.”

“LeBron is not getting younger and he still has enough juice left for a few more postseason runs. Now, the Lakers were extremely lucky to get the number 4 pick and I believe that swings the AD saga in their favour. To get the best possible outcome, it would need to be a three-team deal and this is what I believe is the best way forward. The Lakers trade Lonzo to the Suns for the 6th pick. The Lakers then package that 6th pick with their own pick (4th) plus Ingram for Anthony Davis. The Suns get a point guard, which they have been wanting for years now, the Pelicans get three top-6 picks plus Ingram. The Lakers can then build their team around LeBron and AD.”

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)