2019 NBA Draft Rumors: RJ Barrett Prefers Knicks Or Lakers If Grizzlies Do Not Select Him With No. 2 Pick
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

At the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the new system created numerous surprises as the Los Angeles Lakers somehow moved up seven spots and landed the No. 4 pick.

As the Lakers only had a 9.7% chance of landing in the top-four, general manager Rob Pelinka will explore all options — including a potential trade.

Considering all that has happened to the Lakers in the past month, the hope is they can stabilize themselves with a new coaching staff and another valuable asset.

With the 2019 NBA Draft Combine in progress, the Lakers are starting to get an idea of who will be available if they ultimately keep the No. 4 pick, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

Should the Grizzlies proceed with drafting Morant as expected, the road will be cleared for Duke’s RJ Barrett — the presumptive No. 1 pick in the draft entering the season — to land in New York with the Knicks, who pick third. Sources said that Barrett would be ecstatic to end up in New York but that the franchise will do its due diligence in exploring trade options, as well as work out other players projected to be selected in the top 10.

As the Memphis Grizzlies reportedly will select Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick, RJ Barrett reportedly prefers the New York Knicks with the No. 3 pick or the Lakers, according to Marc Berman of New York Post:

According to an NBA source, the 6-foot-7 Duke swingman prefers if he drops past Memphis, to No. 3 or No. 4, to get to play with either the Knicks or Lakers.

While the Knicks will also explore all options, the consensus is they will likely select Barrett if they keep it. With Zion Williamson, Morant, and Barrett likely off the board once the Lakers are on the clock, there are still five prospects they should consider if they want to add to their young core.

Although prospects like Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver would be good fits, it is no secret the Lakers have been in search of a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James. As there are conflicting reports about 2019 NBA free agency, the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly do not want to trade Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.

Since all of the attention will be on Davis, it will be interesting to see if any other All-Star players are available via trade. While Pelinka and the Lakers have been heavily criticized so far, making moves that result in winning games will quickly change public opinion.