News broke within the last 2-3 hours that New Orleans Pelicans Superstar Anthony Davis’ wish came true as he heads west to the Los Angeles Lakers via trade. The terms of the deal are as follows…
- Lakers Receive: Anthony Davis
Pelicans Receive: Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and 3 First Rounders
I fell victim to the Jayson Tatum fanboyism. I wanted the Pels to work a deal with Boston in a package that included him. Once his name was thrown around, it was hard for me to be ok with anything else.
However, Sports Illustrated reported that Tatum was never on the table knowing Kyrie Irving is out the door (as I expected). You’re not going to give up your best asset and someone who has elevated you to deep runs along with other core pieces for one guy to set yourself back 3 years, especially after all they have built.
That being said, I saw the initial deal with the Lakers and felt robbed as someone who wants to see the Pelicans finally succeed. Despite the deal including three young guys with potential and 3 first rounders, I still felt robbed.
Part of that comes from the fact that in my head, it is still the same busted and mismanaged organization we have seen for a decade with bad move after bad move. I keep forgetting it is a new day and regime in NOLA.
Once Gayle Benson took over, she hired David Griffin as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Since taking over, he is responsible for some serious power moves including…
- Aaron Nelson – VP of Player Wellness
- Trajan Langdon – General Manager
- Swin Cash – Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development
More information has come out that this deal basically robs the Lakers fate in terms of the draft for the next 7 years as tweeted by Ramona Shelburne which likely means this is very similar to the deal constructed by Boston to ship the aging vets to Brooklyn. Those firsts become infinitely more valuable.
The other side of the coin you turn is the fact that the Pelicans seem to be competent now which means they will do their homework and can build with those picks. We have seen teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors use the draft to build.
After hitting the motherload with the rights to Zion, this gives them a golden opportunity. Although you hope those picks are in the early 1st (Top 5), with the right scouting, you don’t need them to be. Here are some of the notable core pieces off the top of the noggin from some of the better teams in the league…
- Portland – Damian Lillard (1st Round – 6th Pick)
- Golden State – Draymond Green (2nd Round – 35th Pick)
- Golden State – Klay Thompson (1st Round – 11th Pick)
- Milwaukee – Giannis Antetokounmpo (1st Round – 15th Pick)
- Toronto – Pascal Siakam (1st Round – 27th Pick)
Speaking of the Raptors, look at the Toronto roster that just won the championship. The highest pick of their core players was Kawhi Leonard at 15th overall. Now granted, they added several of those guys as free agents and didn’t draft them. But you get my point that it was a bunch of guys who weren’t highly touted.
Of course nothing is a sure thing when it comes to any sports draft, but I like the chances of hitting more when you have competence in the front office and now they do.
On top of that, when Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram posted positive vibes on their instagram pages following the news, that is a good sign. Then of course LaVar Ball didn’t make any crazy noise about Lonzo playing in NOLA, another solid sign.
For the first time probably ever, I am excited about the long term future of the Pelicans. Although I won’t sit here and pretend I am some Pels die hard because I am not, I do always want local teams to win. That doesn’t mean I will blindly say they will win. But damn it, I like their chances now.