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COLUMN: Breaking down the Anthony Davis trade



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Duke's Zion Williamson dunks against North Dakota State University in the first half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 22 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Well, it’s about time.

The Los Angeles Lakers have finally agreed to acquire superstar forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans almost six months after he requested to be traded.

The trade included Lakers' Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, who all started at some point for the Lakers last season, as well as three first round picks that include the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft.

Seems like a lot for just one player, right? Well, let's break down the positives and negatives for both teams involved.

Going into next season, it was important for the lakers to keep at least one of LeBron James' sidekicks — Ball, Ingram or Kyle Kuzma. While they managed to keep Kuzma, I think the Lakers will regret sending Ball to the Pelicans.

Ball is the worst scorer of the three, three, but scoring isn't what they need — James and Davis averaged over 50 points per game last season. Ball’s passing and ability to start the fast break would have been perfect in setting up LeBron and Davis in the open court, and he is one of the better point guards in the league defensively.

That being said, Kuzma should fit in decently as a number three option for these Lakers. The biggest upside Kuzma has is that he’s more durable than the other two. Kuzma was the only one of the three to miss less than 30 games last season, averaging 18.7 points over 70 games.

This trade left a ton of holes in the Lakers roster they'll look to fill during free agency. But with the pairing of James and Davis and $23 million in cap space, finding the role players they need shouldn’t be too difficult.

If they are able to do so, barring any major injuries, this Lakers team will be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Following the trade, Westgate had the Lakers at 3-1 favorites to win the 2020 NBA title. I think that’s very premature, but if they make the right moves in the coming months they have a very real shot.

Now looking at it from the Pelicans perspective, they got exactly what they need to build a contender in the future.

The Pelicans now have the No. 1 and 4 picks in this year’s draft, which means they’ll have Zion Williamson and another very good rookie heading into next season.

There are even talks of the Pelicans trying to trade up for the No. 2 pick to take Williamson's teammate, RJ Barrett.

Ball now pairs with Jrue Holiday in the Pelicans backcourt, which does lack a bit offensively but has the potential to be one of the best pairs defensively in the league. Also included in the trade, Hart will give them an offensive boost off the bench.

Ingram gives their starting five some much needed scoring. The lengthy small forward saw his scoring numbers increase every month last season and looked like a star in his six games after the all-star break, averaging 27.8 points a game on 56-percent shooting.

Julius Randle just opted out of his contract so the team looks a bit thin in the front court if he doesn’t come back, but Williamson will likely have a monster rookie year and the Pelicans will have some cap room to replace Randle if he doesn’t resign.

This Pelicans team isn’t an automatic contender like the Lakers, but have talented pieces and could be competitive as early as next year.

If we look through the scope of immediate success, the Lakers won this trade. With the addition of Davis, they now have one of the best duos in the league and are legitimate title contenders going into next season.

However, if we’re looking at the future of both organizations, the Pelicans have set themselves up with a very good core of young players that can grow together in the coming years. Fans should be hopeful even after losing the best player in their franchise’s history.

There is no clear winner or loser of this trade, but considering James' career is coming to a close in the next few years and Davis’ desire to leave New Orleans, both teams got what they needed right now.

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