Since the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers already revealed their plan to pursue big names in 2018 free agency. However, in order to accomplish their goal, they need to perform better and make their roster look more attractive to incoming free agent superstars. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Lakers could trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis to make Los Angeles an attractive free-agency destination.
The Lakers are still in the middle of the rebuilding process, but since Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka assumed their respective front office roles, there is a growing optimism in Los Angeles that the purple and gold could soon return to title contention. However, their goal won’t be that easy since their current roster is mostly consisting of young players. Johnson and Pelinka see the need to add a superstar or two, and as of now, they are trying to free salary cap space for two maximum-salaried players.
Aside from Luol Deng and his lucrative contract, the Lakers will also be forced to move some of their young players, including Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN revealed on The Lowe Post that interested teams offered the Lakers first-round pick for Clarkson and Randle.
“From what I understand, they’ve had offers for Randle and Clarkson. They’ve had offers where they could potentially get a first-round pick back, but then you don’t save any money on salary, right? Or you’re cash flat. You get a pick but you’re cash flat. Or maybe save two million instead of, you know, the whole thing. Which means you do one trade now and probably package whatever you got then or you use the draft pick yourself and then you made another trade at the draft. That’s a little more complicated, right? Because you have to pull off it off twice, but I think that’s more where they are right now,” Shelburne said (h/t Lakers Outsiders).
Acquiring a first-round pick for either Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle will enable the Lakers to free cap space while having the opportunity to acquire another promising talent in the NBA draft. However, they could also use both players in a blockbuster deal that could give them an All-Star caliber talent. According to Tre LyDay of Fansided, the Lakers should consider making a move once the New Orleans Pelicans make Anthony Davis available on the trade market.
In LyDay’s suggested trade scenario, the Lakers will be sending Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2019 first-round pick to New Orleans for Anthony Davis. The deal works on the ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. The only reason the Pelicans will consider trading Davis is if they decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild. The assets they could get in the potential deal with the Lakers will undeniably help them speed up the rebuilding process.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Anthony Davis will not only help the Lakers return to playoff contention, but it will also give incoming free agents more reason to sign with Los Angeles next summer. The Pelicans, who just lost DeMarcus Cousins in a season-ending injury, remain focused with their goal to earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference. The outcome of the 2017-18 NBA season will play a major role in their decision to rebuild the team or continue building around Davis.