When the New Orleans Pelicans started listening to offers for Anthony Davis earlier this week, the narrative was that New Orleans’ ownership didn’t want to deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fast forward a few days and Davis is headed to L.A., but the deal wouldn’t have been completed without some heavy-lifting from general manager Rob Pelinka.
According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin didn’t return the Lakers’ calls until Pelinka put three first-rounders on the table:
With trade talks getting contentious, Pelicans president David Griffin didn’t take call from Lakers GM Rob Pelinka until fourth call today, per source. Pelicans changed mind on wanting Pelinka after getting 3 first round picks.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) June 15, 2019
Unless the Pelicans suddenly became huge fans of Pelinka, it’s likely that Turner meant the Pelicans changed their mind on wanting to Kuzma, who the Lakers held out of trade talks for Davis.
Ball, Ingram, Hart, the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft and two future first-round picks might be more than anyone else was offering for Davis, but Pelinka doesn’t deserve to be condemned for giving into Griffin’s demands.
Going into July’s free agency period, the Lakers weren’t considered favorites to sign any of the big name free agents and while there’s a chance that still may be true, it’s going to be a lot easier to sell free agents on playing with two top-10 players in James and Davis, plus Kyle Kuzma.
Is it enough to lure the top-tier free agents like Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard? Maybe not, but after trading for Davis, it might not have to be.
We’ll see how the summer plays out, but the Lakers in a better position to put together a championship-contending team today than they were yesterday. Above all else, that’s a great thing.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.