With the end of the NBA post-season quickly approaching, many people are turning their eyes towards the offseason. Between off-season trades, a loaded free agency and one of the deepest draft classes we have seen in quite a few years there are a lot of potentially Earth-shattering moves. With thirty teams in the NBA, few have drawn as much attention as the New Orleans Pelicans. Having the number one overall draft pick as well as having a young superstar in Anthony Davis demanding to be traded, they have the potential to turn themselves into title contenders or enter a rebuild mode and let Anthony Davis go. Here we are going to examine my favorite options for the Pelicans this offseason.
Trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have a lot of young players with high ceilings such as Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram. The Lakers also have the fourth overall draft pick, which is a huge bargaining chip. The Lakers need another superstar to pair with an aging Lebron James, and New Orleans could offer them just that. The Lakers could offer a trade including Lonzo, Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the 4th draft pick for Anthony Davis and E'twaun Moore. Moore would offer a three-point presence that the Lakers are sorely lacking as well as a dominant big man in Davis which would compliment the incredible playmaking skills of Lebron. The Pelicans can grow will the lockdown defense of Ball and Caldwell-Pope and the versatile scoring of Kuzma. Having the number one and number 4 draft picks could offer the Duke tandem of RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, two of the most highly praised prospects in recent memory.
Keep Anthony Davis
Davis is not a free agent until the summer of 2020. The Pelicans are under no obligation to trade Davis and in fact, may benefit from keeping him and pairing him with Zion, the assumed Pelicans draftee. Zion is a dynamic scorer with incredible shot-blocking skills, much like Davis himself. There may not be a better player for Zion to pattern his game after than Anthony Davis right now. With Zion's appeal to fans and Davis's dominant skills already proven, New Orleans could be a player in free agency this offseason as well. With Davis and Zion playing in New Orleans already players like Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler, and many others could look to join a growing market and a dynamic, crowd-friendly team.
Trade Anthony Davis to the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have very similar young players to the Lakers, but minus the draft pick. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are all up and coming stars in the NBA. In 2018 these young players fought all the way to game 7 of the Conference Finals without the proven talents of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. If the Pelicans are looking to rebuild they are going to need a forward to replace Davis and a backcourt pairing to play with Jrue Holiday, who would become their best player. I think a trade package built around Tatum and Rozier would make a solid deal for Anthony Davis. However, with Davis's known ties to the Lakers and the recent regression of Tatum, both sides may be a little hesitant to pull the trigger.
All in all, I think the Lakers have the best trade package for Anthony Davis. The ceilings of their young players are All-Star levels and Zion and RJ have the potential to be transcendent and generational levels of talent. While these talents may not make them immediate title contenders, the development of these young players could make them a potential dynasty. Ball is a proven two-way playmaker. Kuzma is a versatile scoring forward with respectable range. RJ and Zion have established chemistry between themselves at Duke and could prove revolutionary to the future of New Orleans.