After a hopeful summer, the reality of the Anthony Davis trade has come crashing down on New Orleans. Now, they must decide their next move.
When the Anthony Davis trade was announced last summer, some people felt like the Lakers gave up too much. We’re two months into the season and it seems like they didn’t give up nearly enough.
New Orleans is in the midst of a 12 game losing streak as their playoff hopes look all but demolished. The Lakers, meanwhile, are demolishing their opponents. LeBron and AD are wiping their competition off the floor like dead bugs from a windshield. At 24-3, the Lakers are on track to win a whopping 70-plus games after missing the playoffs last year.
The question now is whether or not New Orleans will use this trade season to flip their veterans for future assets or continue, against all logic, to fight for the playoffs.
By retaining point guard Jrue Holiday and signing JJ Redick and Derrick Favors, New Orleans tried to avoid a full rebuild. On paper, it made sense. They already had plenty of young talent so they didn’t need to tank, and their veterans could mentor their youngsters.
But now that they’re 6-21, it’s time for New Orleans to take a healthy look in the mirror. They’re bad, Zion is hurt, and they’re paying their veterans more than $50 million this year. GM David Griffin might have mystical powers but he needs to use reality on this one.
He could get even more assets by trading his vets. Jrue Holiday could potentially net a young star and/or a high draft pick. Playoff teams are always looking for sharpshooters like JJ Redick. And teams like the Boston Celtics could use a big of Derrick Favors caliber. Griffin can always go out and acquire older, cheaper vets to tutor his young talent without stealing their playing time.
It’s time for Griffin to admit that even though he fought admirably, he lost the Anthony Davis trade. It’s OK, nobody can win that trade.
The Pelicans were patient after the AD trade demand. They made the Lakers wait and it seemed, for a second, like the small-town team outsmarted the major market juggernaut. New Orleans leveraged their way into a record haul from the Lakers. They also landed Zion Williamson in the draft and suddenly all their problems had seemingly disappeared. Many of us seemed to forget the fact that no matter who the Pelicans got back, none of them would ever be as good as Anthony Davis.
Yes, Brandon Ingram is having a breakout season but Josh Hart can’t stay healthy and Lonzo Ball hasn’t gotten any better. Rookies Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who arrived via one of the Lakers’ picks, look like nice players who’d be lucky to sniff an all-star game someday.
Anthony Davis immediately hoisted up the Lakers’ ceiling. The skill sets from Ball, Hart, and Ingram could be reasonably replaced with Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley, and Danny Green. New Orleans got the best deal they could after AD signed with LeBron’s agent and the Lakers asserted their will.
Let’s not get confused here, the Pelicans still have a bright future. Hopefully, Zion will come back healthy. Brandon Ingram is a stud. And they have draft assets for days.
Right now they need to play their young talent and see who they want to keep. David Griffin should use his powers to pray that Zion Williamson can someday compare favorably to Anthony Davis.