SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA’s transaction season got off to a roaring start on Saturday afternoon as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the New Orleans Pelicans will trade superstar Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks, including the fourth overall in next week’s draft.
Although the deal does not directly involve the Utah Jazz, it’ll still surely have a big impact on the team’s standing in the Western Conference. Most notably, the Lakers will add in Davis one of the best players in the NBA to pair with LeBron James, making a fearsome frontcourt duo.
Los Angeles surely isn’t done adding stars either. The Lakers will still have roughly $30 million in salary cap space this summer to sign an elite player, with Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker set to be a top target, according to New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein.
Having such a trio would surely vault Los Angeles into the upper echelon of the Western Conference next season, especially since the Golden State Warriors are in a serious state of uncertainty following their NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors.
One item of local note involving the trade is that former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma will not be included in it, according to Wojnarowski. Multiple reports emerged earlier this week that the Lakers did not want to include him.
As for the Pelicans, they are set to have a very good foundation to build on after Davis’ departure. They are widely expected to take star-in-waiting Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft, and now they’ll have another top-five pick as well. Ball, Ingram and Hart have shown some signs of being potentially good players, and the group will have the chance to grow together.
Those players will join guard Jrue Holiday, who has been excellent for New Orleans, although his future may be in question with Ball’s arrival. As speculation surrounding Davis swirled, it was widely thought after the Pelicans won the top pick that even if Davis was traded, New Orleans would keep Holiday to pair with Williamson.
With Ball’s inclusion in the deal, however, will that be the case? Ball is pretty strictly a point guard, where Holiday has been playing, although Holiday could likely move to shooting guard if Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry wanted to have both players in the starting lineup.
If Holiday does get on the trade market, would the Jazz try to make a run at acquiring him to fill the need they have there?
The draft is on June 20 and free agency begins on June 30.