By Nick Nagel

LeBron James finally has his sidekick in Los Angeles.  The Lakers have traded Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for six-time all-star, Anthony Davis.

This trade has been talked about for months since the trade deadline last season when the Lakers and Pelicans couldn’t agree to a deal.  After finishing with a disappointing 37-45 record due to injuries and underwhelming play from their young core, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers needed to make some moves.  This is a great trade for both sides that will help them for the present and future.

What it means for the Lakers:

This trade will turn the Lakers into instant contenders in the west.  LeBron will have a full off-season to heal from his groin injury that kept him out for a large chunk of the season.  Davis will provide a security blanket for the Lakers and give them a great second option to carry some of the load off of James.  It has been reported that Davis intends to sign a contract extension with the Lakers after this season. The expectation will be that the trade could go through on July 6th, but if the two parties wait until July 30th to complete it, the Lakers would have $32.5 million in cap space, which would be enough for another max-contract.  Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and others will be on the Laker’s radar come June 30th, when free agency begins. LA could also try and spend that money on depth and quality shooters. Danny Green, JJ Reddick, Kris Middleton, and Seth Curry are all free agents this summer and would provide elite shooting that the Lakers have been without for a while.  No matter what else the Lakers decide to do this off-season, it would be an A+ summer for snatching Davis while keeping a promising young scorer, Kyle Kuzma.

What it means for the Pelicans:

This trade means the New Orleans Pelicans are set for years to come.  After acquiring Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks from Los Angeles, the Pelicans expect to select college phenom, Zion Williamson with the first overall pick in the draft on Thursday.  As of right now, the Pelicans also have the 4th overall pick from LA, which could be traded before or on draft night. When Anthony Davis requested a trade in January, the state of the Pelican’s organization looked in jeopardy.  Then they hired former Cleveland Cavalier general manager, David Griffin for the same position in April and knocked it out of the park. Griffin traded Davis while receiving the best possible assets he could. The core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Josh Hart, Zion Williamson, Julius Randle, and potentially the 4th pick, could set the Pelicans up for success for years to come.

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