Lakers hanging on to younger core to pursue Pelicans’ Davis

Pelicans star Anthony Davis spoke to reporters for the first time since last weekend's trade request.

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t want to break up their young core in a trade for Trevor Ariza because they have something much bigger in mind — namely, New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“Here’s the line they have to walk: They’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre- or post-free agency,” Wojnarowski said.

Ariza was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards on Saturday, not long after the Lakers and Suns reportedly held talks centered on the veteran small forward.

But apparently, the Lakers were unwilling to part with any of their young nucleus — featuring Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.

Meanwhile, Davis has repeatedly indicated he is happy with the Pelicans. The 6-foot-10 power forward/center has a contract that runs through 2019-20. So the Pelicans don’t need to worry about losing him in free agency after the season.

They have said they do not intend to trade him.

But apparently, the Lakers are keeping their young players, draft picks and other assets just in case.

“The absolute dream scenario, people talk about (how) they can trade for Anthony Davis or sign a free agent,” Wojnarowski said. “The dream scenario is they do both.”