FILE PHOTO: Basketball – NBA Global Games – New Orleans Pelicans training session ahead of preseason game against Houston Rockets – Beijing, China – 11/10/16. New Orleans Pelicans player Anthony Davis talks to the media. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
The New Orleans Pelicans agreed to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in return for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks — including the No. 4 overall selection in next week’s draft — ESPN reported Saturday.
The deal, which cannot be made official until July 1, gives the Pelicans two of the top four picks next week, after they won the lottery for the top overall pick. According to ESPN, they will take Duke star Zion Williamson first overall and consider trading the fourth overall pick, with several teams already expressing interest.
The New York Times reports Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker is expected to be a top target in free agency for the Lakers in the wake of the deal for Davis.
The Boston Celtics were also involved in separate talks with the Pelicans for Davis, ESPN reported earlier this week, and the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers had interest in Davis but didn’t make much progress in discussions with New Orleans.
Earlier this week, Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents the Lakers’ LeBron James, told Sports Illustrated a deal to Boston would have resulted in a one-year rental agreement before Davis enters free agency in July 2020.
The Lakers pursued Davis after Paul announced the big man wanted a trade last winter. With Magic Johnson (Lakers) and Dell Demps (Pelicans) both out of jobs after leading those trade talks, and a fresh list of demands provided teams on Monday by first-year Pelicans team president David Griffin, there was optimism the Davis deal would happen.
New Orleans has the benefit of starting over with Williamson as a centerpiece.
One of the lingering doubts for a Lakers-Pelicans match was whether Griffin valued Ingram and Hart more than Demps did when talks fizzled in February.
—Field Level Media