After failing to acquire Anthony Davis at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline, the expectation was the Los Angeles Lakers would be among the teams to re-engage with the New Orleans Pelicans come the offseason.
The likelihood that the Pelicans would ultimately moved forward with trading Davis was paused in some regard when David Griffin was hired as executive vice president of basketball operations. Griffin made it clear his focus was to convince Davis to remain with the organization.
Beyond adding a renowned executive to their front office, the Pelicans netted another bargaining chip by securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. But the allure of Zion Williamson has not enticed Davis, who restated his desire to be traded in a recent meeting with Griffin.
Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who of course also represents LeBron James, went public with his client’s desire to be traded to the Lakers or New York Knicks. That’s been followed by L.A. reportedly offering Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the No. 4 in this year’s draft to New Orleans.
Kyle Kuzma notably was not mentioned, as it’s believed the Lakers wish to retain the young forward. According to Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of the L.A. Times, a scenario could develop where the Lakers keep either their No. 4 pick or Kuzma in a trade for Davis:
The Lakers might have an opportunity to keep their No. 4 pick should they agree to part with Kuzma.
As was previously reported, the Lakers appear to be eyeing Darius Garland if they do not trade their draft pick:
Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland has been heavily linked to the Lakers by people familiar with their draft discussions as a likely selection with the No. 4 pick should they keep it. Garland is represented by Rich Paul, who is the agent for Davis and Lakers star LeBron James.
When the Lakers first approached the Pelicans on a potential Davis trade, reports indicated their offer grew to include Ball, Josh Hart, Ingram, Kuzma and draft considerations.
Although it’s considered one scenario, it’s difficult to envision the Lakers opting to keep their pick in the 2019 Draft over Kuzma. A trade for Davis is viewed as opening the door to the team then signing a max-level free agent this summer.
That would immediately elevate the Lakers to expected contender, and Kuzma’s growing experience and development better fits that than a rookie who was just drafted.