With the Boston Celtics unable to join the pursuit for Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers are emerging as the top trade destination for the New Orleans Pelicans star. The Lakers have a plethora of trade assets, including young players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, and multiple first-round picks, that can convince the Pelicans to engage in a blockbuster deal.
From the time Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the Pelicans, Ball has already been aware that he could be part of the trade package that the Lakers will send to New Orleans. Before the trade negotiation between the Lakers and the Pelicans becomes serious, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed via Twitter that Ball’s camp has expressed their desire for the former No. 2 overall pick to be traded to a third team that doesn’t have an established point guard.
Ball’s request makes a lot of sense. The Pelicans already have Jrue Holiday as their starting point guard, and he’s under contract until the 2021-22 NBA season. Ball must be worried that being traded to the Pelicans will slow down his development into a legitimate NBA superstar in the league.
However, the Pelicans look very interested in adding Ball to their roster. According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, the Pelicans see Ball as their starting point guard in the post-Anthony Davis era. The Pelicans are reportedly giving Ball insurance that he will be receiving significant playing time when he becomes an official member of their team.
“According to sources, the Pelicans view Ball as a player who would become the starting point guard. They don’t see Jrue Holiday as a point guard because he ‘doesn’t want to be a point guard,’ one source said. The sources said the Pelicans would play Ball 35 minutes a night and make sure he ‘would fit’ in with New Orleans so he could become a star.”
Unlike what most people think, Ball and Holiday won’t have a hard time sharing the backcourt in New Orleans. Last season when he played alongside Rajon Rondo, Holiday showed his ability to efficiently play in the shooting guard position. In New Orleans, Ball will be reuniting with his former Lakers teammate Julius Randle. Ball may still have lots to improve with his game, especially with his shooting, but he has shown some characteristics of a player who could lead a team back to title contention.
As of now, it remains unknown if the deal between the Lakers and the Pelicans involving Davis will happen before the February NBA trade deadline. There is a possibility that the Pelicans could wait for the 2019 NBA offseason to trade Davis so teams like the Celtics could also join the bidding.