2024 NBA Draft update clears path for Lakers to truly begin the next chapter

The Los Angeles Lakers now know the fate of their 2024 first-round draft pick. The future can now begin to unfold for Rob Pelinka and the front office.
2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers officially own the rights to a first-round selection in the 2024 NBA Draft. It’s a development that provides a significant measure of clarity in terms of the options the Lakers can choose from this offseason.

It’s also a potentially crucial reacquisition of an asset that a Los Angeles team that’s short on assets could undoubtedly benefit from.

The Lakers entered the final week of May awaiting a crucial decision on the future of their first-round draft pick in 2024. The selection was included as a part of the trade that brought Anthony Davis to Los Angeles, with a key condition that the New Orleans Pelicans could defer the rights to 2025.

It's now been made official that the Pelicans have opted to defer the pick to 2025, thus enabling the Lakers to utilize the No. 17 overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft.

This marks a monumental swing in offseason momentum for a Lakers team that will have limited resources in its pursuit of roster improvement.

The Lakers are preparing to enter free agency over the salary cap and without a clear path towards amelioration in sight. Trades seem to be the most likely method to alter the construction of the team, as the free agent market lacks affordable options for Rob Pelinka to pursue.

As such, being able to utilize the No. 17 overall selection offers the Lakers a pick that's just outside of the lottery and likely to be attractive in potential trade discussions.

In the event that a trade isn't the preferred approach, the Lakers could find a promising and affordable player at No. 17. The No. 17 overall draft pick is expected to make just under $3.2 million in 2024-25, which fits well into Los Angeles' restricted wiggle room.

Furthermore, the Lakers could potentially add a quality contributor who provides both short-term and long-term value to the rotation.

High-level active players who were taken with the 17th pick in the NBA Draft include Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Donte DiVincenzo, Jrue Holiday, Trey Murphy III, and Dennis Schröder. Examples of retired players who were drafted at No. 17 include Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Iman Shumpert, and Josh Smith.

If the Lakers were to land a player with that type of potential, the No. 17 pick in the draft could ultimately become a player who spends quite some time in Los Angeles.

There are a number of options for Pelinka to consider, but the key takeaway is that the Lakers now know what their resources are. No matter what they choose to do, the front office can evaluate their options with the full scope of assets in play.

With up to three first-round draft picks that can be traded and a No. 17 overall selection that has produced high-caliber talent over the past 20 years, the Lakers are in a much better position to make the most of a crucial offseason.