Yesterday, the Lakers and Pelicans made headlines by finally agreeing to a trade to send all-star forward Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for 3 future first-round picks, 2 future pick swaps, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball. This trade kick started what is supposed to be a huge offseason and can see many superstar players swapping teams to either ring chase, or to define their own legacy. But, what could this trade mean for the NBA? In this article, I will be discussing 3 teams: the Lakers, Pelicans, and the Knicks. I will be talking about how this trade affects them and what they might aim to do going forward.
The Lakers are the most famous and profitable franchise in the NBA, and maybe in all of the American sports. They have a distinct history of being great for a very long time and have always been a prime free agency destination no matter what the circumstances were for the team. This trade makes them even more of a free agent destination than they were before, as they now have 2 All-NBA players instead of just 1. They were also able to keep Kuzma, which is huge because you can tell he was becoming the focal point of the Lakers rebuild until LeBron came to LA.
But the Lakers gave up a LOT to get Davis, as they pretty much will not be picking in the early stages of the lottery, or maybe even the first round for the next 6 years. They also no longer have a point guard unless they re-sign Rajon Rondo and have lost a couple of their potential future star players in Ball and Ingram. So, the Lakers will be very busy in this offseason trying to acquire players at the positions they need.
What they need to do going forward is one of two things; they can either sign a max-contract level free agent point guard, or they can sign a bunch of mid-level free agents like they did last season and fill out more than just one need in their lineup. Personally, the best way to go would be signing a 3-5 mid-level contracts and extend people like Rondo and McGee. This will make sure that the Lakers aren’t a 3-man team with the rest being lower-level or minimum contract players. But we all know they will be aiming for someone like Kemba or Kyrie to join the team, so we’ll see how the Lakers fair next season.
The Pelicans brought in a lot of assets and good players for Davis, which is what they wanted. This became a famous trade scenario mid-season as the Lakers offered everything but LeBron James and the team logo for Davis, and the Pelicans still declined. This led to a changing of the guard for the Pelicans as they fired their President of Basketball Operations because he messed up the AD deal. They now have one of the most versatile and athletic lineups in the NBA, especially if they keep the 4th overall pick given to them in the trade. They also of course still have the rights to draft Zion, so they Pelicans have a chance to be one of the best teams in the NBA in the coming years.
On the other hand, though, they still have bad contracts in Solomon Hill and player that isn’t doing too much for them in Jrue Holiday. These two players are killing any chance the Pelicans have of any further growth and rises in potential. They must look to either trade them, or to not resign them when they have the chance.
The Pelicans can do one of two things, just like the Lakers. They can look to trade the #4 overall pick and get even more young talent from it, or they can keep it and draft another possible future all-star like Garland, White, or Culver. They might even be able to trade up and take someone like RJ Barrett if they want to. One thing is for sure though, and that is they have to get rid of Hill and Holiday.
The current Knicks front office can possibly go down as one of the worst front offices in basketball history now. I have absolutely nothing positive to say about them (sorry to any Knicks fans reading this). You traded away Kristaps to tank and only got the 3rd pick, KD is injured for almost all of next year, and Kyrie is probably going to either LA or Brooklyn. They still have those two max slots, but they are not going to be used to sign the main big-name free agents anymore like they were initially planned. They might get people like Middleton and Vucevic, but that is a huge step down from what they were aiming towards.
What the Knicks need to aim to do is sign multiple players with good trade value, and then ship them for decent role players and picks in the next 2 drafts. This way, they cut their cap space, get a lot of picks, and have a foundation to build around when they do indeed get the ability to sign those top tier free agents again.