BLOGTABLE: Processing the Lakers' trade for Davis
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 20, 2019 11:36 AM
CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 16: LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #23 of Team LeBron shake hands in the locker room before the 2019 NBA All-Star Practice and Media Availability on February 16, 2019 at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA Philippines blogtable
The Toronto Raptors were barely into their reign as champions when the LA Lakers announced their intentions to compete for the Larry O'Brien trophy again in a big way.
And by big, we mean agreeing to the basic framework of a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for All-Star big man Anthony Davis.
Does this mean the balance of power in the Association shifts back West? Which team won this trade? And who will finish LA's dream "Big Three"? Check out our bloggers' thoughts, below:
1) Did the Lakers give up too much for Davis?
Migs Bustos: It was a good deal for both. You can't sell Davis short, and Kyle Kuzma is a good fit for the Lakers. He will be the intangibles, x-factor type. Ingram's role would be redundant, and Ball has not improved drastically over his first two years, so it was wise to let him go. The kicker was the #4 pick now going to the Pelicans, so they can rebuild the perfect five.
Marco Benitez: Considering that they have only a few years left of the best player in the world in LeBron (age 34) at the peak of his powers, the Lakers are in win-now mode, and thus needed another superstar to bring them to title contention. And boy did they get a Superstar. Davis, when healthy, not only brings great offense (25.9ppg, 12rpg, 3.9apg, 2.4bpg, 33% 3P%) but he’s a phenomenal defensive talent. He’s unlike any player Lebron has teamed up with in the past, and at only 26-years of age, could secure the future of the franchise past the LeBron James era. While it’s true they did give up a lot of their young core and future picks for AD, given what he brings to the table, it was definitely worth the gamble.
Enzo Flojo: I think so. I mean, AD is a once-in-a-generation talent, but I feel like the Lakers did give up too much of their young core. I didn't mind shipping out Lonzo Ball (and all the baggage he entails) and Josh Hart, but I thought adding Brandon Ingram to the mix instead of another draft pick was a tad much. Ingram would've potentially been a great partner for AD up front with LBJ and Kuz manning the wings for a Lakers squad that could potentially snare someone like Kemba Walker or Kyrie Irving if the stars align.
Anton Roxas: I don’t think so. For all the hype that Lonzo Ball brings, he has not proven that his body is strong enough to withstand the NBA lifestyle. Brandon Ingram has shown flashes of potential, but that’s it. Both former number two picks have underachieved and that’s why they were shipped out of LA.
2) What is the Pelicans' ceiling next season? Are they a Playoffs team?
Migs Bustos: I wouldn't say a clear-cut playoff team. But if they play their cards right, work as a unit and focus on a clear main man (which can be Zion Williamson), then they might exceed expectations.
Marco Benitez: It’s always going to be difficult losing your franchise player, not to mention arguably the best player to wear a New Orleans uniform. The Pels however got a major haul from the Davis trade, and it has definitely made them better, moving forward. With the No. 1 pick in the draft likely to be Zion Williamson, who is arguably the closest thing we’ve seen to LeBron in the last 15 years, the Pelicans now have a solid core of Ball, Williamson, Ingram, Holiday, and possibly Randle. Will it be enough to make them a playoff team once again? Probably not in the West. But it will definitely make them a team that will be a contender in the future, as long as they play their cards (or their draft picks) right.
Enzo Flojo: Yep. With a promising young crew that won't be tied down to humongous expectations due to LeBron's presence, I believe these Pels can fly. Zion Williamson will be the showpiece, yes, but I expect significant growth in production both from Ball and Ingram as they should take bigger roles on this team. With other West teams getting older and likely regressing, I wouldn't put it past the Pelicans to sneak into the conference's top 8.
Anton Roxas: If both Ball and Ingram can stay healthy, then they have a shot a making the playoffs. I think it all hinges on those two. They were given a fresh start in New Orleans. Now, it’s time for them to step up and prove their worth.
3) Should the Lakers shoot for a third superstar, or build a strong supporting cast ala the Raptors, with their remaining cap space?
Migs Bustos: I'm still uncertain on how this partnership will affect Davis' performance. I don't want him to fall into the trap of the likes of Chris Bosh and Kevin Love where they just "deferred" to him and were limited to their roles. I am hoping that they get a quality point guard. Not necessarily a superstar, but someone who is able to get the job done (much like a Derek Fisher, Goran Dragic, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd type of PG who will feed his superstars and can step up in clutch).
Marco Benitez: The talk now is that the Lakers are in search of a third superstar to compliment Lebron and AD. However, depending on when the Lakers close the deal on the AD trade, they’d be able to offer as much as $32 million to as low as $23 million to their third superstar; and David Griffin of the Pels will more than likely force them to close the deal as soon as free agency starts, thus leaving them with a figure closer to the latter, and hardly enough to lure the likes of Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie, or even the recently crowned NBA Champ and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Given such, they’re probably better off surrounding their superstars with some mid-level role players, 3-and-D guys, and utility bigs that will allow them to contend without having to gut their already depleted roster.
Enzo Flojo: I would go for the Lakers getting a balance of grizzled veterans and promising young studs -- not a third superstar. I think Kuzma has the potential to be the final piece of their Big Three anyway, so it makes more sense to just surround LBJ, AD, and Kuz with complementary players who can effectively round out their team on both ends of the floor.
Anton Roxas: I think they should. Three superstars has become the standard for winning championships in the NBA. Not to take anything away from the Raptors, but if the Warriors didn’t get bitten by the injury bug, we’ll be talking very differently right now.
4) Even without knowing who else will play with Bron and the Brow, how far do you think the Lakers will go next season?
Migs Bustos: If they were in the East, it's a sure top three spot. But in the very competitive West, it's hard to predict. Given Durant's and Thompson's injury, there is a big probability that the Warriors may not even make the playoffs or just hang on by a thread. The Rockets, Thunder, Nuggets, Spurs, Blazers are experienced enough to return to the playoffs. It really depends on how their final lineup would pan out. If the Lakers get good guards and role players, they can make the playoffs at around the 4th to 8th seed.
Marco Benitez: Just with their current lineup of Lebron and AD, as well as Kuzma, the Lakers can assemble a team composed of vet minimums and mid level guys and still be in the playoff hunt next season. It will all depend on how healthy the King and the Brow stay all year, but they're definitely a playoff team in the West.
Enzo Flojo: Playoffs, for sure. Second round, I expect. Conference Finals? Depends who else they get in the offseason or before next season's trade deadline. NBA Finals? If LeBron stays healthy, why not? Champions? Hold your horses. Too soon.
Anton Roxas: With The King and The Brow, I see the Lakers making at least the Playoffs. At most, the Western Conference Finals. They will surely need support though because LeBron is turning 35 before the year ends and AD is not exactly iron man. As we have seen in this year’s Playoffs, health is vital to a team’s chances of success.
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