While the Los Angeles Lakers are busy finalizing their plans for free agency, Josh Hart is getting ready to start the next phase of his career with the New Orleans Pelicans.
There had been plenty of speculation regarding the team’s plans for the offseason and the Lakers made it clear they were all in on winning now after pulling the trigger on the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade.
Although Lakers fans are undoubtedly excited about the addition of Davis, the departure of their young core except for Kyle Kuzma has left a rather bittersweet taste in their mouths. It appears the feeling is somewhat mutual for Hart.
Hart admitted that he was happy to start his career with the Lakers, via The LightHarted Podcast:
“I am super grateful for the Lakers organization for Magic, for Jeanie, for believing in me. For my teammates, I had some great teammates. Amazing to be a Laker for the last two years, be wearing that purple and gold. That’s a dream come true. And obviously, I think I wish them nothing but success in the future.”
Although Hart will undoubtedly miss being a Laker, a recent report suggests he and the other young players are looking forward to a fresh start with the Pelicans:
Word is that Ball, Ingram and Hart are all excited for a fresh start in New Orleans playing with Williamson, too.
Hart was initially taken with the No. 30 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz before he was subsequently traded to Los Angeles. He has since managed to establish himself as one of the more notable steals of his draft class thanks to his skill set as a tenacious two-way player.
Hart managed to kick things up a notch when he was named Summer League MVP last offseason. The 24-year-old followed it up by averaging 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 25.6 minutes per game during the 2018-19 NBA season.
Hart’s comments are telling of how much he enjoyed playing in Los Angeles over the last two seasons. Although being part of a franchise like the Lakers comes with its fair share of decent exposure, there is no question that all the attention can be a bit overwhelming for young players trying to find their footing at the next level.
Despite all his promise, Hart still has plenty of room to grow before he can be considered a bonafide 3-and-D player in the NBA. Fortunately, he will now have an opportunity to continue developing alongside some familiar faces in New Orleans where the expectations have been tempered a bit moving forward.
There are still plenty of positives to take away from his time in Los Angeles. It is safe to say that Hart and his fellow former Lakers will continue to be missed by fans for years to come.