NBA Trade Breakdown: Lakers/Pelicans trade Anthony Davis
Justin Fensterman breaks down the fantasy ramifications of the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers.
As we gear up for the 2019 NBA draft and an offseason with some of the biggest names in the league on the open market, the Los Angeles Lakers began the offseason events by trading for Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James . In return, the Pelicans received Lonzo Ball , Josh Hart , Brandon Ingram and three first round picks (including the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft). Davis will use this season as a trial run and decide if Los Angeles is in his future beyond the 2019-2020 season.
LAKERS SIDE: This is a very high-risk, high-reward move because Davis has suffered a lot of injuries throughout his career. The Lakers were able to hold onto Kyle Kuzma meaning Davis will solidify the Lakers starting frontcourt by being the big man in the middle. He’ll be battling a lot in the post and that will provide further wear and tear on his body. It will be important for the Lakers to sign big men that can play an effective 25 minutes a night at minimum to preserve Davis. Reports are out that Derrick Favors may have some interest in joining the Lakers and that could be very beneficial. From a fantasy perspective, Davis at this point has the paint to himself and we can expect him to average a double-double with the Lakers. Kuzma will play more on the perimeter and serve as the main bailout shooter of the frontcourt. Kuzma’s rebounding may slip a little if he’s not lining up in the paint on offense. He will still be in the post on defense and should be able to pull down six boards per game. The Lakers next need is a point guard and with Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker as free agents, they will be huge targets to complete the Lakers “Big Three”. The Lakers traded all of their depth and will need to sign a lot of short-term contracts to build their depth. The Lakers needed to make a splash and a talent like Davis is rarely available, but the Lakers also need to realize how important it is to back him up with guys who potentially play serious minutes to preserve him, or preserve the foundation when he gets hurt. The Lakers purchased a Superstar who is damaged goods. If there is drama in L.A. Davis may choose to walk away after just one season leaving the Lakers in a lurch.
PELICANS SIDE: After landing the first overall pick, the Pelicans will take Zion Williamson and put Ball, Ingram and Hart around him. This team is on the rise and it’ll be interesting to see if Julius Randle (who opted out) will return to the team as well. Jrue Holiday starting with Ball in the backcourt will give them a lot of their scoring. Ingram can also run the point and Hart should see a major fantasy boost as the team’s sixth man. Elfrid Payton and Tim Frazier are both free agents and Ball won’t have to be in a major timeshare for minutes as he was in L.A. with Rajon Rondo . This is a successful start for the Pelicans rebuild. If they re-sign Randle, they start him at Center. Other free agents such as Al Horford , DeAndre Jordan and Nikola Vucevic would be good fits with this team. The Pelicans currently have two top-four picks, but, they may look to trade it to further build their foundation. All players involved from the Lakers side of the deal should be targeted in fantasy drafts, especially, Lonzo Ball because of the amount of points, boards and dimes he will be able to produce. Ingram will be a good late value in fantasy basketball drafts and Hart could be a good final round pick or first waiver wire pick up. There’s a lot of playing time to go around on this team and Ball, Ingram and Hart won’t be held down by aging veterans anymore. Davis is a hard player to part ways with, but he didn’t want to be there anymore and the Pelicans knowing Davis wasn’t going to return to the team once his player option came up, they didn’t cave to the Lakers in a trade deadline deal, kept their demands high and were able to grab assets both in players and picks. The Pelicans struck GOLD with this trade and if this team isn’t in the playoff picture in 2020, you will see the rise of the Pelicans in 2021 and beyond.