After the disastrous trade negotiations in February that left everyone on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster feeling unappreciated and created a divide within players and management, it seemed like the door might be closed on trading for Anthony Davis.
However, since the Pelicans hired David Griffin to run the front office, there are glimmers of hope that a path to acquiring Davis might still be on the table. Davis has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be in New Orleans, even after the team earned the right to select Zion Williamson in the upcoming NBA Draft. Gayle Benson denied a rumor that she would only trade Davis to Los Angeles over her dead body. And anonymous Pelicans staffers acknowledged that the trade package the Lakers presented back at the trade deadline actually had some good pieces, though their enthusiasm has dimmed with Brandon Ingram’s health scare.
Now, Pelicans beat writer Andrew Lopez of The Times-Picayune reported that Alvin Gentry is interested in the idea of having Lonzo Ball on his team to play next to Jrue Holiday:
Lopez said that Griffin is perfectly willing and able to trade Davis to Los Angeles provided that’s the best offer:
The Lakers do have good assets that people in the Pelicans’ organization value. For instance, Alvin Gentry loves the idea of having a Lonzo Ball-Jrue Holiday backcourt. LaVar Ball does not love the idea of having a Lonzo Ball-Jrue Holiday backcourt, so that makes things a little bit complicated. They like some of the guys higher in the draft.
Ball and Holiday would be a fascinating backcourt, as both have point guard skills but can capably play off the ball. The pair of former UCLA Bruins would be a dynamite defensive duo as well. Holiday was an All-Defense selection this season, and Ball appears on his way to earning one of those honors, provided he can stay healthy.
The fact that LaVar Ball is still opposed to having Lonzo in New Orleans makes no difference. Ball doesn’t have a no-trade clause, and his father’s opinion doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t be willing to play under Gentry, who has a great track record of developing point guards. Holiday, Goran Dragic, and even Elfrid Payton would attest to that.
If the Lakers have a trade asset that appeals to the Pelicans as much as Lonzo Ball appears to, that puts the team in good shape to put an attractive package together for Davis. New Orleans still holds all the power, but it’s good to know that the Pelicans have a reason to revisit this transaction.