The AD drama we all saw coming:
Well, it’s about 7:25 on Monday morning and Adrian Wojnarowski has just reported that Anthony Davis requested a trade to get out New Orleans and go to a contender. Can’t say I blame him; the team was one star away from being a legit title contender before Boogie Cousins tore his achilles. For their next big move, the team made no attempt to bring Cousins back and let him go right into the hands of GSW. Yeah, Cousins is a snake for going to GSW,, but the Pelicans are also to blame.
Even David Stern - who screwed over Demps’ team and didn’t allow them to trade Chris Paul in 2011 - has said Dell Demps is a lousy GM.
As for AD, it’s makes total sense that he doesn’t want to be in New Orleans. A team with high expectations following a season where they made it to the Western Semi-Conference finals, the Pels have struggled with a 22-28 record, 13th in the West and 6 games out of the playoff picture. With Davis out the next few weeks because of a finger injury, the Pelicans’ playoff chances seem dim.
Jrue Holiday is a fringe all-star, but who else does that team have? Julius Randle? Frank Jackson? Jahlil Okafor? Sure, their depth isn’t this terrible, but Demps really made no effort at all to build around Davis after losing Boogie.
Personally, I don’t believe the Pelicans will trade Davis before the February 7 deadline. The team has made it clear they’re keeping him and even though AD said he isn’t signing an extension with the Pels, I think they’ll wait until this free agency to make a move. That being said, here are two obvious trade candidate and one move that could tie them together:
After failing to get Paul George in 2017 and Kawhi Leonard in the 2018 summer, Magic Johnson may succeed this time in pairing Lebron with a second superstar. Let’s just hope Magic doesn’t screw this one up.
Unlike most other teams, the Lakers have several non-superstar, but intriguing prospects. Outside Lebron, however, they don’t have anyone on an all-star level just yet. In fact, when fully healthy, the Lakers employ four starters under the age of 23 alongside Lebron. Because James went to LA to mentor young guys, right?
Here’s my breakdown of what the Pelicans will need from this trade:
- At least one first round pick from the start. Check.
- Some big man whom they can invest something in for the future. The team currently has four on its roster: Javale McGee, Tyson Chandler, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner at center. McGee and Chandler won’t cut it and Wagner just hasn’t played that much so far. Zubac is averaging a double-double since the start of the month and has been solid in the wake of Lebron’s injury, so it would make sense for New Orleans to want him. Check, Zubac.
- Between Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, the Pelicans will need at least two of them. Zo has been heavily criticized for his shooting, but his defense has actually been very solid, putting up 4.4 defensive win shares in his 99 game career. If the Pelicans part ways with Davis, trading Jrue Holiday could likely follow, which would make Ball the point guard of their future. If Ball can stay healthy, which is a huge if, then the Pelicans should take him and the battle from his idiot father that follows. What about Ingram and Kuz? Since taking Brandon Ingram with the second pick in 2016, the Lakers have been open to trading Ingram if it meant getting a superstar. Being the slender man himself, Ingram is having the best season of his three year career so far and the Pelicans should be comfortable taking him in and giving him a bigger role. However, while the Lakers have been reluctant to part ways with Kuz, the Pelicans have stated he is needed as a part of the trade, along with Ball and Zubac. Sure, Kuz has exceeded all expectations, but he’s not worth costing being able to get Davis, a top five player. I think the Pelicans could use all three and maybe try to get all three, but for now I think the Lakers can keep Brandon Ingram. Check Ball and Kuzma.
- For this trade to work, the Pelicans would need to take on either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (who may use his no trade clause), or both Lance Stephenson and someone else such as Josh Hart. First of all, why on earth does KCP have a no trade clause? Like, who’s idea was that? In all honesty, the answer is probably that Caldwell-Pope, Lebron, and AD all have the same agent - Rich Paul - so he likely wanted his clients in the same place. For this reason, I don’t think KCP will be included in the final deal. With just Kuzma, Ball, and Zubac out, that leaves the Lakers about 5m over the cap. Stephenson makes 4m and throwing in Hart, a cheap two-way sharp-shooter with high upside, makes this trade possible. Check, Stephenson+Hart.
Pelicans trade Anthony Davis to Los Angeles in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Lance Stephenson, Josh Hart, and a 2019 unprotected first round pick.
It’s worth noting that Woj has also announced Davis is expected to make the Lakers his preferred long-term destination. As I noted, Rich Paul represents both Lebron and Davis, making it reasonable he’ll push the brow to LA.
Now, let’s just hope the Lakers don’t screw this up again. Take a leap of faith here, and you could wind up with two of the top five players in the league and a title chance.
Another immediate thought I had after mocking up this trade was Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers, (or Lebron, who basically runs the team), have stated that they’re interested in Melo but don’t want to cut someone to get him. Since they’d be trading five for one, there would definitely be a spot for him. Carmelo and Lebron were teammates in 2012 for Team USA and maybe by playing with a great facilitator like James, Anthony can flourish in a bench role for the Lakers as the third “superstar” - but definitely can’t call him that anymore.
Boston Celtics (in July):
You have probably heard enough about the Rose Rule and why the Boston Celtics can’t get Davis without giving up Kyrie until the offseason so I’m not going to explain it.
The team has the assets to make an offer, and if Kyrie re-signs (we’ll get to that later), the Celtics will become a force to deal with in the east with AD.
The Celtics could have four first-round draft picks for this season if the conditions all go through and they’ll definitely have to give at least one up. However, since this trade would be after the draft, at least one of those picks can’t go through. The Grizzlies pick probably won’t hold up unless they make a miracle run, which makes it an intriguing pick for 2020. Check, Grizzlies 2020 pick, given the Celtics get it.
Assuming the Celtics offer Kyrie a max contract, they’ll have to trade Gordon Hayward somewhere if they want a chance at Anthony Davis. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy and feel bad he got hurt, but right now Hayward’s max contract is one of the worst in the NBA. If they choose to keep him, or more likely can’t find anyone to pay him 32m to come off the bench, the team will have to trade Al Horford. For now, check Horford.
More importantly than an aging vet, the Pelicans need a potential superstar to build their future around. Jaylen Brown has a high ceiling, but his production has dropped from last season to this year and I think the Pels would much rather get Jayson Tatum. Do the Celtics want to send him off? A fringe all-star candidate this season, Tatum has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA, but I don’t think New Orleans does this trade without getting him. Check, Tatum (and throw in this year’s first-round pick and current G-league player, Robert Williams III).
Final offer: Pelicans trade Anthony Davis to the Celtics for Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III, and the Grizzlies 2019 draft pick.
Danny Ainge has a way with making these trades work in his favor and let’s just be honest, Dell Demps doesn’t.
The Celtics already knew they would have trouble bringing their guys back; but assuming this trade would be accompanied by giving Kyrie Irving a max deal, it likely means Terry Rozier III and Marcus Morris sign elsewhere.
The projected lineup for next season would be something like Aron Baynes, Anthony Davis, Gordon Hayward/Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Kyrie Irving. Along with Philly and Milwaukee, the Celtics would be legit contenders to come out of the east (Still not sure Kawhi re-signs with Toronto).
A Big Three in LA with Kyrie?
Boston fans, stop reading here. The take from this blog for you is when I gave that generous trade for AD above, not this.
If you haven’t closed out of the page by this point, hear me out: the Lakers should attempt to sign Kyrie Irving. No need to riot, just follow this through, Kyrie has stated that he is interested in a reunion with Lebron.
Since leaving for Boston, it’s felt like Kyrie and Lebron are on good terms. Instead of Lebron looking down on him like a tough father, Kyrie can now view Lebron and his advise as those of a “cool uncle.”
Let’s hypothetically say that the AD trade goes through this offseason. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s contract gone and AD likely to sign a max extension, it would make sense for the Lakers to try and lock up a third superstar in Irving. A new Lakers dynasty.
The Celtics are solid right now but in my opinion they’re still a star away from contending for a title. Missing out on AD would kill and Irving not re-signing puts a lot of pressure on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to become superstars.
All right Boston fans, now you can riot.
Now even bigger question? Would this Lakers team with 3 superstars take the throne from the Warriors going forward? In short, I say yes. Klay Thompson, Demarcus Cousins, and Kevin Durant are due to hit free agency at the end of this season and Draymond Green is also at the end of his contract after the 2019-2020 season, so the Warriors dynasty may be nearing an end. Finally the NBA isn’t so predictable!
Along with Kyrie, the Lakers should go out and get some shooters. Maybe target J.J. Redick? See, there you go Boston, the Sixers are hurt as well.
That Lineup for next season would project to be Anthony Davis, Lebron James, Brandon Ingram, J.J. Redick, and Kyrie Irving… filthy.
Should the Lakers sign Kyrie Irving this offseason?
This poll is closed
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