The Los Angeles Lakers reached an agreement to acquire three-time All-NBA forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans for three players and three first-round draft picks on Saturday, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers paid a steep price to partner Davis with LeBron James: sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and the picks — including the No. 4 overall selection in Thursday’s NBA draft — to the Pelicans, sources said. The Lakers were able to hold on to forward Kyle Kuzma in the trade, which cannot be finalized until July 6.
New Orleans’ trade package from the Lakers represents one of the most substantial returns on a single star player in modern league history.
Davis, who had requested a trade to L.A. in January, joins James in Los Angeles to create one of the most powerful duos in the NBA. Davis has long indicated privately that he plans to sign a new contract with the Lakers once he becomes eligible for free agency in 2020, sources said.
The Pelicans’ return for Davis was substantial and perhaps even more impressive given that the market had shrunk on New Orleans, based upon rival teams believing Davis would ultimately become just a one-year rental before leaving for the Lakers next summer.
The Boston Celtics had resisted including Jayson Tatum in a trade package, and that ultimately made the Lakers the clear-cut choice to strike a deal, league sources said.
The Pelicans now will have two of the top four picks in Thursday’s draft — No. 1 and No. 4. New Orleans will select Zion Williamson at No. 1 and now has the flexibility to select a player at No. 4 — or trade it at auction in the next several days.
New Orleans has had significant interest in talks with teams in recent days on the fourth overall pick, and those talks are expected to continue over the next several days, sources said. Teams are pursuing point guards Darius Garland and Coby White high in the lottery, giving New Orleans a chance for an even bigger haul from the deal.
In addition, the language in the deal concerning the future first-round picks includes the possibility of a pick swap that could make the trade even more advantageous to the Pelicans, league sources said.