NBA Offseason: Pre-Free Agency

Anthony Davis now resides in Los Angeles with the King. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Joel Montgomery

It’s official, Anthony Davis is a Los Angeles Laker, and the NBA offseason has kicked off in full swing. With next year’s title being more up for grabs than it has been in years, many teams are looking to make big moves as we start summer 2019. Who will strike big, and who will go home empty-handed?

Los Angeles ended up sending their 2016 2nd overall pick Brandon Ingram, 2017 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks in order to acquire Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. After Magic Johnson and Dell Demps failed to make a similar deal in the middle of last season, it seems newly anointed Rob Pelinka and David Griffin were able to hash things out between the organizations and get a trade done.

Knowing LeBron James doesn’t have much time left playing at the top of his game, the Lakers went all out to win now. It’s a big risk to trade their entire young core—sans Kyle Kuzma—but it’s big risks that can win big in today’s NBA. This is a similar approach the Toronto Raptors took in trading a culture-upholding star in order to get a top NBA player in Kawhi Leonard, even if just for a year. But that ended up getting them a championship, the penultimate reward in a transaction of any magnitude.

The only difference between the Lakers and Raptors is that Davis has already verbally committed to resigning with them, meaning that they not only have a star to compliment LeBron on next season’s title quest, but they can cement another superstar with their franchise and start a new, good-looking plan for the foreseeable future.

The Pelicans also are winners in this, as since it was clear Davis was on his way out the door regardless, New Orleans grabbed a big haul by trading him to the team he wanted to go to anyways. Now, the Pels have a young core they can build around Lonzo, Ingram and Hart, as well as their number one overall pick which will most likely end up being Zion Williamson. Also, the three first round picks they acquired (including this year’s 4th overall pick) could be flipped as assets for even more quality players.

With these two teams making the first big move of the offseason, whose to follow? With a bunch of free agents on the market including Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and more, could the Mavericks even make a big move? The draft is also on the horizon, could we see some more blockbuster trades? Time will soon tell.