The Clippers were all in on getting a superstar this summer. Unfortunately, one of them (and depending on outlook, the best of them) is now off the table. Adrian Wojnarowksi dropped a “Woj bomb” an hour or so ago, detailing a huge trade between the Pelicans and Lakers to send Anthony Davis to LA. In return, the Pelicans are getting Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the 4th pick in this draft, two future 1st round picks, and possibly some pick swaps. In other words, David Griffin and the Pelicans got the motherload.
It has seemed destined that Davis would go to the Lakers since the trade deadline. They’re the only team that Davis (and his agent, Rich Paul) have truly committed to as a destination where Davis would be willing to re-sign, and the Klutch connection with Davis and LeBron James has made AD to the Lakers all but written in stone. In the end, no other team wanted to pay a hefty price for a one-year rental, even one as good as Davis. The Clippers never put rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the table, and as we’ve discussed many times, he was a prerequisite to getting a deal for Davis done.
For the Clippers, AD on the Lakers is a two-fold blow. It removes a superstar trade target (albeit one they didn’t think they could keep, and therefore didn’t heavily pursue) and also strengthens the cross-town rival Lakers. The Lakers, with two superstars in the bag, and with plenty of cap space, are now free to go after another max player like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, or Jimmy Butler. If they get one of those guys, they will be the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title next season, even with a presumably thin rest of the roster.
With one of the primary targets off the board, the Clippers’ attention will now be fully on Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, the two other Tier-1 stars who are free agents this summer. Hopefully they nab at least one of them, because both the Pelicans and Lakers should end this deal looking mighty competitive. Additionally, the Clippers adding Kawhi or KD (or both) would make the battle for LA over the coming years the most exciting and competitive it’s ever been.