The Lakers are the apparent frontrunners to land Anthony Davis in a trade with the Pelicans for now, as New Orleans has some incentive to get a deal done, in principle, prior to next Thursday night’s NBA Draft — it’s important to note for salary reasons, a deal can’t be done officially until July.
The current offer from the Lakers is reportedly Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the No. 4 overall pick, but there are a pair of sticking points with that have apparently kept talks from progressing. The first part is whether the Lakers will include Kyle Kuzma, which has allegedly become a battle between the two sides. That could be related to the second part, which is the Pelicans reportedly wanting to find a third team that would send them an All-Star caliber veteran, or close to it, for the fourth overall pick.
New Orleans doesn’t have much on their roster to juice up a deal for a third team, which is why the Kuzma inclusion could be important. While initial reports indicate the Pelicans value him tremendously, Kuzma could potentially sweeten the pot alongside the fourth pick to get New Orleans better immediate value in return with a third team.
That would substantially change things with a third team. However, if we operate simply on the premise that New Orleans would be sending Solomon Hill’s expiring contract, the fourth pick, and potentially someone else off of their roster somewhere, we wanted to look at what the best possible options are out there for a three-team deal.
There are some substantial challenges in this exercise, namely that there aren’t an awful lot of teams that have a player that fits what the Pelicans reportedly want and are in a position that would warrant them trading that caliber of player for the fourth pick in this particular draft. The No. 4 pick is likely going to net teams a good prospect, but not one most expect to be a transcendent force that can change your franchise. It’s not a pick teams will be falling all over themselves for and, as such, there are some names that I presume are likely ungettable that could be available for the right price, most notably Bradley Beal.
With that in mind, let’s look at four options that could be there for the Pelicans, with the understanding that there’s a reason nothing has happened on this front just yet.
Pelicans get: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kevin Love
Lakers get: Anthony Davis
Cavaliers get: No. 4 overall pick, Solomon Hill
This is the rather obvious choice. The Cavaliers re-signed Love last year to a huge deal, and as soon as it happened, there were people that began wondering if he’d get moved early on. Love doesn’t fit the Cavs’ timeline and if he could net them another top pick in this year’s draft, which may allow them to move back with the fifth pick to acquire more future assets, it would make sense to move him. Love would be reconnected with David Griffin in New Orleans, who traded for him in Cleveland, and Love’s spacing seems like a snug fit next to incoming top overall pick Zion Williamson.