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Why the gamble to wait on trading Anthony Davis paid off

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Published: June 15, 2019

The bet the Pelicans made in February

          The decision the Pelicans made in February, the one where they decided to postpone dealing a discontented Anthony Davis until the summer paid off. Yes, the Pelicans ended up trading Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers anyway. Yes, Danny Ainge’s advice to hold off on dealing Davis because he was “coming with everything” ended up being farcical. This deal with the Lakers ended up being more beneficial to both teams now than earlier. None of that matters anymore, The Pelicans put whatever strained relationship they had behind them, found a deal that worked for both teams, and dealt Davis to where he wanted to end up this entire time – Los Angeles.

         In the trade for Davis The Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the 4th overall pick, and as Brian Windhorst said on the True Hoop collective podcast “Control of the Lakers draft for the next 5 -7 years. This means 3 first round draft picks, swaps, and deferments in between. A main point being absent from this trade that was included in February is –  Kyle Kuzma. Marc Stein of the NY Times reported the Pelicans “considered Kuzma to be the Lakers most valuable asset and that the Lakers would not include him in any trade. One of these is a lie. David Griffin used how much the Lakers seem to value Kuzma as a tool to receive the draft pick compensation they got in return, allowing the Lakers to keep someone they obviously value an incredible amount to pair with Davis and Lebron, while they Pelicans got more future assets in return.

One slight difference could tip the scale.

       The fact of the matter is this – if the Pelicans took the Lakers offer in February, it is essentially worse for both teams. Even one more win or loss for both teams could have resulted in the Pelicans not winning the 1st overall pick or the Lakers not winning the 4th. Two monumentally different factors from February even if based entirely on luck, albeit, luck is the most unquantifiable and least talked about factor when it comes to success in the NBA  . Zion Williamson isn’t coming to New Orleans in this case and the Lakers might not have a 4th pick that possibly tipped the scale in their favor. Kuzma would also be in New Orleans instead. This most likely is not the final form of this trade and won’t be until during the NBA draft June 20th, it’s being reported that David Griffin is shopping the 4th pick for a veteran that can contribute immediately or to draw out more future assets.

      Whatever possibilities that will entail aren’t possible without the wait and that’s the entire purpose of this, this version of the trade isn’t possible with that decision, that decision led to immense luck for both franchises. Now the Pelicans have an incoming franchise corner stone young talented players around him, although with question marks, Jrue Holiday, and enough draft capitol to accumulate more assets or talent. The Lakers now have Anthony Davis, a rested Lebron James, and kept one young player their franchise valued tremendously in Kyle Kuzma. Both teams are in a better position now than they would have been with a deadline trade, so let whatever rancor these last 6 months have bred go and enjoy the future.

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