It hasn't been a secret that Anthony Davis wanted to be out of New Orleans. His agent, Rich Paul, publicly stated that he wanted a trade, drawing the ire of some fans. And while the Pelicans seemingly did not want to trade him when David Griffin came on board in their management department, there was just no convincing Anthony Davis he was going to be a part of the New Orleans Pelicans next season. Finally, after a meeting with Anthony Davis, Griffin and the Pelicans got the hint that Davis was not coming back to New Orleans next season and started soliciting potential deals. The Lakers deal was revisited along with the possibility of Davis being traded to Boston. When Rich Paul said it would essentially be a one-year deal if he was traded to the Celtics, that effectively knocked them out of the race, leaving only the Lakers as the team really and truly in the race for Davis' services. And after all the talk and the thoughts of him leaving New Orleans, the deal has been agreed upon to send Davis the Lakers.
The deal, which was announced on Saturday afternoon, sends Davis to the Lakers for three first-round picks (which includes the fourth overall pick in the draft this year), point guard Lonzo Ball, guard Josh Hart and forward Brandon Ingram. The immediate response from some is that the Lakers gave up too much to get Davis in a Lakers uniform. If you're the Lakers though, they had to make something happen. Over the last two offseasons, they missed chances to get Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, instead choosing to wait to go after those players in free agency. Now George is signed long-term in Oklahoma City and Kawhi seems to be not even looking their way. Davis was said to be wanting to come to Los Angeles or New York, but that could have all changed exactly like the situation with George did. And although Davis said he is going to enter free agency in the 2020 offseason, the chance had to be taken to get him to Los Angeles because they needed that second star to pair with LeBron and missing the playoffs again would not be a good thing. Besides, putting Davis with LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma will make for one incredibly talented frontline.
Having a talented frontline is a good thing, but unfortunately that does not complete the team. With Lonzo Ball gone, there is a gap at the point guard position. Rumors are already out there that Kemba Walker is the top target for the Lakers at the point guard spot. Pairing him with what the Lakers have now would be a perfect fit. Kemba can score the basketball at all three levels and he can also distribute the basketball. Playing with LeBron would be an adjustment for him as it will be for Davis, but it is one Kemba can make. LeBron's most comfortable mode of operation is to be a playmaker and while Kemba can do that, he can also be a scorer. Allowing Kemba to be that scoring point guard while LeBron is on the court with him would make things easier for him and when he is off the court, the ball would flow through Kemba's hands even more. Then you through in the fact that both Kemba and LeBron make Anthony Davis' job easier by making plays to get him easier shots and these three could have some symmetry together. Of course, the Lakers have to get Kemba signed first for any of this to happen, so right now, this is a hypothetical situation.
Along with needing help at the point guard position now, the Lakers now need some depth and more importantly, they need some shooters to surround their star players. Last season, the Lakers failed to bring in shooters and they cannot fail at doing so with LeBron and Anthony Davis together. With more than likely not a lot of money available (especially if they sign Kemba Walker or a particular point guard who's rumored to be going to Brooklyn), the Lakers have to get bargains and be smart in what moves they make to fill out their roster. And with that, more than likely the shooters they go get will be veterans. One shooter that comes to mind is veteran Kyle Korver. The veteran shooter has history with James from their Cleveland days and he is a career 42.9 three-point shooter. Another guy that could come in and be a shooter for them is Wayne Ellington. Unlike Korver, he does not have previous experience with LeBron, but he has made 37.9% of his three-point shots over his career. These two and maybe another shooter would help the Lakers, especially off their bench. And if they keep Reggie Bullock, that makes three shooters, which is better than the Lakers had last year and gives them three guys that can space the floor.
One wild card shooter that has not really been mentioned is JR Smith. Before anyone loses their minds, Smith has made some crazy decisions over his time, most notably blowing a chance to win the game in Game 1 in the 2018 NBA Finals. The picture of LeBron looking at him incredulously will never get old. While that moment is still fresh in people's minds, you still have to remember he had some really good moments with LeBron in Cleveland and helped win a title there with his shooting and defense. The Cleveland Cavs are looking to get rid of him and Smith wants to leave as well. One thing that could happen is Smith could get bought out eventually and he would be a cheap signing for the vet minimum for Los Angeles. Again, he is a streaky shooter and he does make some head-scratching decisions sometimes, but he is a shooter and the Lakers need all the shooting they can get.
The Lakers have started the wheels on improving themselves and making the playoffs, but there is still some work to be done. Adding Anthony Davis was just the start of what they have to do this offseason. It will be interesting to see how the whole picture comes together and who else may show up. Who knows? We could see Carmelo Anthony out in Los Angeles as well.