There were a few surprises in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, one of them being that the Los Angeles Lakers leapfrogged to the fourth overall pick after finishing with the 11th-worst record in the NBA during the 2018-19 season. They only had a 9.4% chance at getting a pick within the top-four.
Other than some of the worst teams in the NBA moving back as a result of the Lakers’ rise, the main surprise of the night was the New Orleans Pelicans getting the number one overall pick. They had only a 6.0% chance at obtaining the pick, and now have a new variable in their decision on what to do with Anthony Davis, who has had the desire to be traded for the better part of 2019.
For those wondering if the probable drafting of Zion Williamson would change Davis’ mind, Shams Charania of The Athletic/Stadium had this to say:
The New Orleans Pelicans are now set up to be Zion Williamson’s franchise to lift, and No. 1 pick could ease potential trade of Anthony Davis. His stance on a trade has not changed, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 15, 2019
If Shams Charania is correct, that means teams like the Celtics, Knicks, and the Lakers will still have the opportunity to present their best offers to the Pelicans for Davis. If he still wants out, it’ll be hard for the Pelicans to continue to say “no” to offers, as he can become a free agent in the 2020 offseason with his player option for the 2020-21 season.
A trade package from the Lakers for Davis would probably have to at least include the newly inherited fourth overall pick and most (if not all) of the young core including Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart. The Celtics will be bringing to the table the 14th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, as well as some combination of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and other draft picks. The Knicks will have their 3rd overall pick, Dennis Smith, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilkina, and Mitchell Robinson. There are, of course, other teams who could present trade packages to the Pelicans, but these are the three most rumored and equipped teams to pull it off.
As everyone remembers, the Lakers and Pelicans tried this song and dance in February, failing to land on a trade while derailing both teams’ seasons in the process. In respect to the Lakers, the inclusion of about half of the roster in trade rumors made them plummet in the standings follow the February trade deadline (injuries didn’t help either).
As the door apparently might remain open to a trade this summer, it’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers call new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. Maybe he will be inclined to accept an offer that the previous Pelicans’ management declined in February.