Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I’m probably Rob Pelinka.
The Lakers managed quite the coup on Tuesday night, leaping from the 11th spot to claim the No. 4 overall pick at the NBA Draft.
This doesn’t guarantee the Lakers are going to use the pick to trade for a superstar or even a second-tier star.
I wish it meant that because that’s what a team with an aging LeBron James needs at the moment.
What it doesn’t need is another young player to continue an ongoing rebuild that’s starting to feel like falling down an endless abyss.
While I was immediately ecstatic that the Lakers had a trade chip from Tuesday’s big lottery win, sobriety set in by Wednesday.
I remembered that the Pelicans aren’t all that happy with the Lakers and then recalled that the Lakers general manager is Pelinka, not the most popular GM in the league by a healthy stretch.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, a man whose little birds manage to get word from all over the NBA, explained that the Pelicans would still rather not deal with Los Angeles.
On “The Jump,” Windhorst states, “From what I understand, the Pelicans are not interested in making a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Brian Windhorst explains how the Knicks have the best offer for Anthony Davis and how the Pelicans aren’t interested in making a deal with the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/GiHZuTxLYW
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) May 15, 2019
The ESPN reporter goes on to state that had the Lakers stolen the No. 1 pick we might be talking about something different. But from his standpoint, the Pelicans continue to dig in their heals against dealing with the Lakers.
Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger seems to echo that sentiment in a report that paints Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin as someone committed to keeping Anthony Davis.
So the Lakers find themselves right back where they were at the trade deadline, willing to part with their assets and bumping up against a stubborn wall of an organization.
They could use the pick instead of trading it but probably won’t. Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes expressed doubt that the Lakers hold the No. 4 pick and add another budding player to their young core. (h/t Bleacher Report)
I would be very surprised if that fourth pick—first of all, I’d be surprised if they picked that, make that pick, then I’d be surprised if that pick is on their roster come the 2019-20 season.
I agree with Haynes. The Lakers don’t need to add another young player to a still maturing roster. While a top-five pick is more NBA ready than anyone taken later in the draft, there is no guarantee that they will make a positive and consistent impact in their rookie season. And, for that young potential Lakers player, Year One amounts to a must-win season for LeBron and the Lakers.
There is still hope for an Anthony Davis trade, especially when you consider a package of the No. 4 pick, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and other parts is arguably the best deal on the table come this summer.
If not, that pick can still be packaged to get another player with scoring ability and the talent to push this roster into the playoffs. I’m thinking Bradley Beal.
And because the NBA never lacks excitement, even in the realm of transaction news, there is that little matter of Zion Williamson. There is as yet no guarantee he goes to the New Orleans Pelicans despite their lottery victory.
Just to toss some extra cheese onto the NBA Draft pizza, Williamson has not yet signed with an agent.
The Pelicans insist they are going to keep trying to convince Anthony Davis to stay. Zion Williamson has yet to sign with an NBA agent to theoretically leave open the possibility he returns to school. The Leverage Playoffs are underway, too
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 15, 2019
It’s extremely unlikely he skirts the draft when you consider Williamson’s brush with injury last season, the amount of money he can make and the fact that there is no guarantee which team will be picking No. 1 a year from now.
It’s just nice to remember that it’s remarkably early in the process. A good deal today could fall apart tomorrow.
Davis could even decide that he wants to return to New Orleans, leaving the Lakers back to where things began a year ago, looking at this summer’s free agency to solve all of their problems.