Pelicans give Lakers 1 final gift from Anthony Davis trade

New Orleans will be gifting Los Angeles one last trinket that originated from the AD trade in 2019.
Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

There is one crucial event that led to the current state of the New Orleans Pelicans in 2024. I am speaking, of course, of the 2019 trade that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles where he joined the Lakers. In exchange for their disgruntled superstar, the Pelicans got back Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks.

Using these assets, New Orleans would of course quickly build themselves back to the level of a Western Conference playoff contender in short order. Ingram obviously became a solid second option behind Zion Williamson for the Pels, while the front office was able to deal Lonzo and Hart and get back Devonte' Graham, Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, CJ McCollum, Larry Nance and Tony Snell over the course of multiple seasons.

After just two losing seasons, the Pels would find themselves right back in the playoffs in 2022. They are still searching for a playoff series victory in this new era, but all things considered, the AD trade has worked out rather nicely for New Orleans, especially considering Davis was all but mentally finished with the Pelicans back in 2019.

Of course, there are still real and relevant ramifications of that deal today. One of the first-round picks the Lakers sent New Orleans was theirs in the upcoming 2024 draft, but the pick had an option on it when dealt: the Pelicans could choose to either keep LA's 2024 first-rounder, or defer it to 2025 instead. This past week, New Orleans decided it would allow the Lakers to keep their pick this year, and instead assume control of LA's pick next year.

Pelicans will allow the Lakers to keep their 2024 first-rounder

In doing so, the Pels have gifted essentially given the Lakers one last gift from the Anthony Davis trade. The reasoning behind their decision likely stems from the consensus that this year's draft is a bit weak, and not as stacked with high-end talent as next year's is expected to be. Ultimately, New Orleans made a smart choice in theory, if it means they have a better shot at a rotation-level player in 2025.

If that is the case, then how can this be considered a gift for the Lakers? Well, for those who have been following along with LA's offseason stories, there is at least a decent chance the Lakers will want to draft LeBron James' son, Bronny James, in an effort to keep number 23 in town for another season.

Allowing LA to keep their pick in this year's draft will not give them an extremely high pick, as the selection will be the 17th of the draft overall. But what it will do is give the Lakers another asset to work with, in the at least somewhat likely scenario they become interested in trading back to be able to select Bronny somewhere in the early-to-mid second round, where many have him projected.

In the end, this situation should be considered a win-win for both the Pelicans and Lakers. If LA wants to use a draft pick on Bronny, let them go ahead, now that they have even more means to get it done. Meanwhile, New Orleans is set up even more nicely to grab an elite prospect in next summer's draft, especially if the Lakers flame out in the upcoming season.