Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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It’s almost time for the draft and the Los Angeles Lakers own the No. 4 overall pick. But that doesn’t mean they actually want it.
In fact, it seems they would much rather use it as part of a package to land New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
“If the Lakers are drafting at No. 4 on draft night, they’re in trouble,” NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on an ESPN draft special Tuesday night. “That means they didn’t get an AD trade done.”
The Lakers tried and failed to acquire Davis ahead of the trade deadline in February, but are under new management, as former president Magic Johnson stepped aside on the final day of the regular season.
The Pelicans are also under new direction, as David Griffin replaced former general manager Dell Demps as head of basketball operations this offseason. Griffin, of course, was GM in Cleveland when James and the Cavaliers won the championship in 2016.
So perhaps the negotiations will have a different feel.
James and the Lakers had better hope they do, according to Wojnarowski. As of now, the Lakers are not on the radar of the league’s top free agents.
“This is an organization that is in a win-now mode with LeBron James, and they have got to find a co-star — very likely via trade — for LeBron James,” Wojnarowski said. “”They are not a frontrunner, or even a major consideration, among any of the elite free agents.
“If they don’t get Anthony Davis, they’re going to have a hard time putting a team on the floor that LeBron James is happy with.”
The Lakers have missed the playoffs a franchise-record six straight seasons despite the addition of James. They replaced coach former coach Luke Walton with Frank Vogel in May.
The New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are others expected to make a strong run at Davis this summer.