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Pelicans trade Anthony Davis to Lakers in blockbuster NBA deal; Lonzo Ball, others to New Orleans  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

Long-simmering speculation turned into reality Saturday night.

In a stunning trade that will likely have ripple effects throughout the summer and across the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to trade superstar forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. The person was not authorized to publicly comment on the deal because it will not be official until after June 30.

In exchange, the Lakers are sending Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks — including the No. 4 selection in next week's draft — to the Pelicans.

ESPN first reported the details of the trade Saturday.

The deal will move Davis, one of the league's most dominant players, to Los Angeles — where he will join one of the league's most iconic franchises and play alongside LeBron James, who signed with the Lakers as a free agent last summer.

It also accelerates New Orleans' rebuild under new executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, who was hired in April. In Ball, Hart and Ingram, the Pelicans will add three former first-round draft picks who are 24 or younger. They also have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft and have met with Zion Williamson at least twice since winning the draft lottery.

The future picks the Pelicans will receive include: a 2021 first-round pick that will go to New Orleans if it lands in the top eight and will become unprotected in 2022 if it doesn't convey; an unprotected 2024 first-round pick, with the right to defer to 2025. New Orleans also gets the right toswap first-round picks in 2023.

Davis, 26, had been on the market for months after he publicly requested a trade out of New Orleans in January, midway through his seventh season there. The request resulted in a $50,000 fine from the NBA, which forbids public trade requests.

Speculation about Davis' next stop quickly centered around James and the Lakers — in part because James and Davis share the same agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.

Magic Johnson, the former president of the Lakers, said the team explored the possibility of acquiring Davis before the trade deadline in February but he believed the Pelicans did not negotiate in good faith. The Pelicans fired general manager Dell Demps shortly thereafter, and Johnson abruptly resigned his position two months later.

At least one of those two former executives was celebrating the deal Saturday.

"Great job by Owner Jeanie Buss bringing Anthony Davis to the Lakers!" Johnson wrote on Twitter. "Laker Nation, the Lakers are back in a championship hunt! Congratulations to the entire organization. I know LeBron James has a big smile on his face. I’m loving this!!"

In Davis, the Lakers will add a six-time All-Star and formidable defensive presence who is averaging 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game thus far in his career. The 26-year-old has one year remaining on his current contract and is scheduled to hit free agency in 2020.

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