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Lakers and Pelicans draft picks and swaps: How Anthony Davis trade could cost LA in 2023 NBA Draft and beyond

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The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis via trade in June 2019, hoping the All-Star big man could continue the legacy of legendary Lakers bigs and lead the franchise into its next generation of winning.

Following in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal is no easy task but in his first season in L.A., the move immediately paid dividends as the Lakers lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy in the bubble.

In mortgaging their long-term future for immediate success and maximizing LeBron James’ championship window, the Lakers sent a host of talented young players and draft picks to the Pelicans.

While the trade was a success right off the bat, it hasn’t aged well beyond that. Fast forward three years and the Lakers are coming off of a season where they missed the playoffs and currently holding the third-worst record in the league. They are already feeling the aftershock of the trade, with their asset cabinet stripped bare and their chances of winning another title in the LeBron-AD era looking slim. 

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Their limited draft assets have made roster improvements difficult to pull off with the Pelicans owning many of their future picks, but the one that stands out most is the right to swap picks in the 2023 NBA Draft — otherwise known as the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

Before we dive into that, let’s recap just exactly what went out the door to acquire Davis. 

What did the Lakers send the Pelicans?

Lakers received: Anthony Davis

Pelicans received: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, three first-round picks

The details of those picks are as follows:

  • 2019 — No. 4 pick
  • 2021 — First-round pick protected for Nos. 8-30 (unprotected in 2022)
  • 2023 — First-round swap rights unprotected
  • 2024 — First-round pick unprotected (option to defer to 2025)

The Pelicans traded the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to the Hawks for picks Nos. 8, 17, and 35, which were used to draft Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada. Atlanta selected De’Aandre Hunter at No. 4 overall that year. 

That deal also saw the Pelicans acquire a 2021 second-round pick which was used to take Herbert Jones, who has become an elite defensive player in just his second season. 

The first-round pick the Lakers traded to the Pelicans did not convey in the 2021 NBA Draft, meaning it became an unprotected pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which New Orleans used to select Australian guard Dyson Daniels.

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What does this mean for 2023?

Victor Wembanyama, 10262022

All eyes are on French teenage phenom Victor Wembanyama, who is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

With the Lakers on track to be a lottery team at this rate, getting a potential generational talent would inject new life into the next era of Lakers basketball. The only problem is… the Pelicans have the right to swap picks in 2023.

Reminiscent of the ill-fated Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade that saw the Nets send the Celtics future picks that turned into Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Lakers are at risk of seeing the Pelicans cash in.

While it’s unlikely the Lakers end up with the No. 1 pick with teams like the Magic, Thunder, Rockets, Pistons and Pacers projected to be in the mix, stranger things have happened. 

Starting the season with a 1-5 record, the Lakers still have plenty of time to turn things around.

What draft picks do the Lakers own?

The Pelicans have the option to choose between LA’s 2024 or 2025 first-round pick, meaning they will only have one of their next three available first-round picks.

The Lakers currently have control of their 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2029 first-round picks, however, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, they can only trade first-round picks from 2027 onwards.

lebron-lakers-anthony-davis

NBA Getty Images / The Sporting News

In hindsight, a core of LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and co. looks better on paper than their current roster but ultimately, this is about winning championships and the Lakers’ short-term gain in 2020 makes the Davis trade a success whichever way you slice it. 

Looking ahead, the Pelicans might just be the ones laughing. 


Credit: sportingnews.com

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