The Los Angeles Lakers were very busy as soon as NBA free agency began as the team is looking to build off of last season and win a championship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. There is a very real chance that the 2023-24 season is LA’s last chance to win with this superstar core.
A championship would cement the last five years as one of the better stretches in franchise history. It might not be the Showtime Lakers or the three-peat Lakers, but it would compare favorably to the 2008-2010 run that produced two titles with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
That being said, it does not take another championship to justify the Anthony Davis trade. That trade became worth it the moment the Lakers won the championship in 2020. And even though it was scrutinized at the time, the AD trade has aged like fine wine — injury problems aside.
The trade is still getting better four years after the fact in large part because of the signings LA made in free agency. Los Angeles re-signed Rui Hachimyura while also signing Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes. This gave the Lakers three lottery picks from the 2019 NBA Draft, which is where LA traded its fourth overall pick as part of the AD package.
Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade somehow got even more lopsided for LA.
The New Orleans Pelicans have to be shaking their heads about the AD trade. While the team was able to come away with a lot of assets, outside of Brandon Ingram, those assets have not fully panned out. Sure, they have gotten some solid players, but the Pelicans weren’t even a playoff team last season.
Ironically, New Orleans spun the Lakers’ fourth overall pick in 2019 for the eighth overall pick and more draft capital so the team could take Hayes. With Hayes now in Los Angeles, it does not seem like it worked out for the Pelicans.
So often fans and pundits get caught up in all the draft picks that are traded in these deals without realizing that most of the time, these picks don’t amount to much. That has been the case for the Lake Show as the team was able to win a title and can still buy low on the potential of the 2019 draft class four years later.
This is not the first dagger that New Orleans took from the AD trade in the last few months. The Pelicans didn’t even get the Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft as New Orleans had a worse selection than LA and the pick was a pick swap.
When LA started 2-10 Pelicans fans were dancing down Bourbon Street over the potential of getting Victor Wembanyama. How did that pan out?
Regardless of what anyone said at the time, the Anthony Davis trade is one of the best superstar trades of the last 20 years. It produced as many titles as the Kevin Garnett and Kawhi Leonard trades, after all.