Shortly following news that Anthony Davis is willing for the New Orleans Pelicans to trade him to other teams besides the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson pushed all his chips into the middle of the table, offering Dell Demps a package that reportedly includes Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and two first round picks for Anthony Davis, according to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times.
Per Turner, the Lakers are also offering to take on Solomon Hill’s contract to give New Orleans cap relief, a contract the Lakers would then stretch:
Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 4, 2019
Lakers now waiting on Pelicans go respond, per source. But it's all that the Pelicans wanted to trade AD. Young talent from Lakers, cap relief and draft picks.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 4, 2019
The Lakers would use the stretch provision on Solomon Hill's $12.2 million contract for next season during the summer, per source.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 4, 2019
This means that the $12.2M would be distributed over 3 years, so it'd be roughly a $4.07M cap hit in each of those seasons, freeing up an additional $8M or so this summer. They did this with Luol Deng last summer. https://t.co/2IxXLozwLE— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) February 4, 2019
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN also reported that the two sides had made progress earlier in the morning, which is still notable even in the wake of Turner’s report because Woj has been on top of New Orleans’ thoughts in these talks:
Lakers president Magic Johnson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps have had multiple conversations today, league sources tell ESPN. There's no sense how much progress sides have made progress toward a possible trade, but the Lakers have absolutely gotten more serious in the discussions. https://t.co/R84Aetv9n3— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2019
As Wojnarowski outlines, though, this going through will still depend on how the Pelicans (or a third team, honestly) views the Lakers’ young players.
Among New Orleans' priorities in an Anthony Davis deal - young players/picks/cap relief - Pels are determined to get back one player w/ All-NBA potential. Do Pels see that in Ingram, Kuzma or Ball? Boston's Jayson Tatum fits mold. Can Pels pry Tatum? All internal Pels questions.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2019
But getting back to the offer, make no mistake about it: This is the Lakers going all in.
Will it be enough to cut through the pettiness the Pelicans have shown throughout these negotiations? That is unclear, but it would seem that there is progress being made, and that with just about three full days to go before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline, there is still time for cooler heads to prevail and get a deal done that allows the Pelicans to save face and the Lakers to get a second star to play with LeBron James.
When Davis got to L.A., he would be playing with James and very little else. This deal would leave the Lakers with precisely zero NBA point guards and just Josh Hart remaining from their young core.
In fact, let’s take a look at just how barren of depth this package would leave the Lakers’ roster:
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
- Solomon Hill
- Josh Hart
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Tyson Chandler
- Ivica Zubac
- JaVale McGee
- Svi Mykhailiuk
- Moe Wagner
- Johnathan Williams (two-way contract)
- Alex Caruso (two-way contract point guard)
- Isaac Bonga
There are a lot of holes there! Not the least of which would be Alex Caruso being the Lakers’ starting point guard on a two-way deal.
The Lakers would obviously hit the buyout market and reload this summer as well, and realistically, this deal isn’t about this year. That noted, looking at the roster it would leave this season does illustrate just how much the Lakers would be paying to get Davis on their roster.
This trade would still be worth it, because you gamble on Davis, James and some cap space, but the front office would have to display its value in the other way of roster building afterwards. Upon recruiting the two stars he promised would bring the Lakers “BACK back,” Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka would have to show their prowess at signing guys on the margins both this season and this summer.
Can they do so? They’ll have to, even if this deal will be a winner almost no matter what for the Lakers.
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