It was Davis' intention all along to go to Los Angeles.
After five months, Anthony Davis finally got his wish. Now, both he and the Pelicans can finally move on.
Last Saturday, New Orleans decided on a trade with the Lakers that will send Davis to Los Angeles in exchange for three players and three draft picks.
We won't know who won this deal until years from now. However, at this moment, it looks like a win for each franchise--that is, as long as the Lakers can bring in another comparable piece in free agency.
It was Davis' intention all along to go to Los Angeles. It was obvious midway through this past season that LeBron James saw that his team, as presently constructed, was going nowhere fast. He needed another all-star piece to compete for a championship.
That piece was Davis. He announced he would not be resigning with the Pelicans. He wanted to be traded.
He was hoping they would deal him away to the Lakers before the trade deadline, but the Pelicans stood firm and refused to budge.
But with the season over and with the draft coming up, New Orleans had all the leverage they needed to get the best possible compensation in letting go of a generational talent like Davis.
Davis got his wish. He will now be paired with LeBron. Rajon Rondo is also there, along with Kyle Kuzma.
Many have already proclaimed them as the favorite to win the NBA title next season.
I don't see that happening with the roster currently at their disposal. They need to bring in one more all-star-caliber player through free agency. The problem with that is Davis' addition to the roster eats up the salary cap. They don't have a lot of money to throw at potential suitors.
Someone like Kimba Walker would have to agree to take a big pay cut to go there. That's not to say it won't happen. The opportunity to play with Davis and LeBron and be the favorite to win a championship is very enticing.
As far as the Pelicans are concerned, you couldn't have played this thing much better than new President of Basketball Operations David Griffin did.
Not only did Griffin get three good players that can be immediately impactful for them, but they received a plethora of draft picks that they can use to construct the foundation of the franchise.
The Pelicans will get Lonzo Ball. No doubt, Ball hasn't lived up to being the No. 2 draft pick in his first two NBA seasons, but the talent is there.
He's a 6-foot-6 point guard that was a bonafide superstar at UCLA. And though he may struggle scoring, he is a terrific defender. If he can stay healthy and improve his shooting, he can make a big impact in New Orleans.
Like Ball, Brandon Ingram was drafted second by the Lakers, and he has not lived up to that high billing. But like Ball, the tools are there.
He's long and athletic, and he has progressively gotten better after a disappointing rookie campaign that resulted in just nine points per game. In 2018, he averaged 16 per contest, and this past season, he scored 18 each game.
The Pelicans also got Josh Hart in the trade. Hart looks like he could be a solid role player this upcoming season.
Also in the trade with the Lakers, the Pelicans received three first-round picks, including the fourth pick in this year's draft. Well, Griffin used that pick to do even more wheeling and dealing.
On draft day, he traded the pick to the Hawks in exchange for the No. 8, 17 and 35 picks in this year's draft.
So, for Davis, Griffin was able to pocket Ball, Ingram, Hart, two first-round picks and a second-round pick this season and two more future first-round draft picks.
Also, he got rid of Solomon Hill, freeing up more than $30 million in cap space. This will allow New Orleans to shop around in free agency and possibly bring in a proven, all-star caliber player.
And of course, the Pelicans already have Jrue Holiday and the top pick in the draft in Zion Williamson.
The past month has been fun. It feels like we're watching a whole new franchise be constructed from the ground up. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have someone competent pulling the strings.