Anthony Davis is on the move, and he’s joining forces with LeBron James in Hollywood.
The Pelicans are trading the NBA superstar to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — who cited league sources. The Los Angeles Times also reported on the trade.
Per ESPN, the Lakers sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks — including the No. 4 overall selection in Thursday’s NBA draft — to New Orleans. It’s expected the deal will be completed July 6, according to ESPN, as that is the end of the free-agent moratorium.
The Pelicans also have the No. 1 overall pick in this week’s draft, and they’re expected to take Zion Williamson.
But right now, the focus is on Los Angeles. The trade instantly takes the Lakers from laughing stock to a potential title contender next season.
“AD on da way!!” James wrote on Instagram. He later added in the post, “Let’s get it bro! Just the beginning.”
Davis, James share the same agent
Davis and James share the same agent in Rich Paul.
In January, Davis informed the Pelicans that he would not sign a contact extension with the team and wanted to be traded, Paul told Wojnarowski at the time. He can become a free agent in the summer of 2020, and Davis plans to sign a new deal with the Lakers then, according to ESPN.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, before the trade was made, Paul, a close friend of James, discussed the optics about the perceived conflict of interest with reporter S.L. Price.
“My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers,” Paul said to SI in the June 17 issue. “Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?
“So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.? If it was L.A. — I never said ‘L.A.’ But there’s no negative to that. Who gives a s— what you’re talking about, about me trying to help LeBron out? No, I’m not. I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”
Magic Jonson praises the move
Magic Johnson, a Lakers legend who recently quit his job as the team’s president of basketball operations, praised the move in a series of tweets, giving kudos to notably owner Jeanie Buss and — somewhat surprisingly — general manager Rob Pelinka. Pelinka, Johnson said last month to ESPN, is why he stepped down as Lakers president, saying the Lakers GM talked behind his back.
“Laker Nation, the Lakers are back in a championship hunt!” Johnson said in a tweet. “Congratulations to the entire organization. I know LeBron James has a big smile on his face. I’m loving this!!”