The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t win the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, but Tuesday has to be considered a positive for the franchise. Entering the night with less than a 10 percent chance to be slotted ahead of the No.11 overall pick, L.A. made a significant leap and landed the No.4 selection in the first round.
It’s been expected that the Lakers would try to include their first-rounder in an offer for Anthony Davis. Acquiring the big man could be more difficult now that the New Orleans Pelicans have won the lottery and the chance to draft Zion Williamson, but that won’t stop Los Angeles’ pursuit of the superstar.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has made it clear the team will heavily examine what they could get in return for their draft pick.
“We are coming off a very tough season,” Pelinka told ESPN.com. “We are going to do all we can to increase our chances to win next year. This pick is a powerful asset. We’ll be methodical with the options of either selecting the right player or using it another way to get better.”
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is on a conference call with reporters and has made it very clear Lakers will canvass the league to determine trade value of fourth pick. Jumping this high in the draft, he said, is "an extraordinary shift for us."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 15, 2019
The Lakers obviously hope that other “way to get better” is trading for Davis. The organization was willing to trade just about all of their assets for the All-Star during this past season.
The Pelicans seemingly never seriously considered the Lakers’ offer in February. That could change with other potential offers for Davis looking less appealing than they might have a few months ago.
Kyrie Irving’s tenuous future with the Boston Celtics might prevent the organization from offering the kitchen sink for Davis. The New York Knicks’ potential package of the No.3 overall pick, Kevin Knox and future draft picks might be appealing, but not nearly as appealing as it could’ve been when the Knicks were in a position to win the lottery or even get the second pick.
Los Angeles might now have the best offer of all the known Davis suitors with the ability to trade the No.4 pick, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, in addition to future draft picks. Perhaps executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin would be more open to making a deal with the Lakers than New Orleans had been a few months ago.
In the hours following the lottery, the general consensus seems to be that the Lakers’ trade package is better than what the Knicks could send the Pelicans.
Griffin will try to convince Davis to re-sign with an organization now that the Pelicans can offer him the most money as well as the opportunity to play alongside a potentially transcendent star. Even if Davis is ultimately traded, New Orleans has less urgency to get a deal done right away with the results of the lottery.
Davis isn’t the only impactful player that the Lakers can pursue this offseason. All the player movement that’s expected to take place in July could alter the landscape of the league and force teams to consider making big moves.
With LeBron James approaching his 35th birthday, the Lakers are in “win-now” mode, and it’s a safe bet that Los Angeles will look to move the No.4 pick in order to build an immediate championship contender.