Bresnahan: What Comes Next?
The trade deadline came and went with Anthony Davis still a Pelican, creating a very important question for the Lakers and their fan base.
For those disappointed that a trade wasn't consummated, the Feb. 7 deadline actually wasn't that big of a deal. The Lakers and New Orleans can resume trade talks once their seasons end.
For the rapidly sinking Pelicans, that likely means April 9. The Lakers obviously want to make the playoffs and last a long time, but it's worth noting their last regular-season game is also April 9.
Yes, the teams could hypothetically pick up their phones and start talking again in just two months.
The bigger question is whether the Pelicans will trade Davis at all during the off-season.
The early post-deadline results haven't exactly been comfortable for them. Davis was booed in his first home game since coming off the injured list. His reaction wasn't great, either.
“That was definitely awkward. Boo? OK,” he told reporters after scoring 32 points in only 25 minutes of a victory against Minnesota. “I was [surprised]. But, hey, that's life, man.”
In Davis' defense, there were also some cheers for him that night, but this uneasiness can't keep going for another year.
Or can it?
Davis is under contract through the 2019-20 season, though the Pelicans will have more pressure to trade him this summer than they did last week, knowing he will certainly walk in 2020 as a free agent if not dealt before then.
The next big date in the Pelicans' eyes has got to be May 14, and not just because they'll almost surely be in the NBA draft lottery that night. They'll definitely be watching to see where other teams land.
If Chicago wins the lottery, the Bulls can offer New Orleans the top pick (Zion Williamson, anybody?) as well as some solid young talent already on their roster. It's worth mentioning that Davis is from Chicago, born there in 1993 before eventually becoming a standout player at Perspectives Charter School.
If New York wins the lottery, the Knicks suddenly become a player for Davis, with Dennis Smith and Kevin Knox acting as possible trade bait.
Then there's the Boston Celtics, who have a chance at four (!) first-round picks and will get some clarity on lottery night. They also, of course, have Jayson Tatum.
As for the Lakers, the Pelicans weren't exactly burning up their cell-phone batteries from over-communicating.
In fact, Lakers President Magic Johnson had an interesting answer when if the Pelicans negotiated in good faith over the last two weeks.
“No,” he bluntly told reporters Sunday. “But, hey, it is what it is.”
Most of the trade scenarios reportedly offered by the Lakers included the Lakers' top three young players — Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. There was even a desire, somewhat reluctantly, to include two first-round picks.
But the Lakers were through talking when New Orleans demanded four first-round picks and at least two second-round picks in addition to the above three players and three other ones too.
The trades the Lakers made last week will undeniably help them in one key area.
The Lakers were 29th in three-point shooting when they acquired Reggie Bullock from Detroit and Mike Muscala from the Clippers.
Bullock provides 40% career accuracy from three-point distance and Muscala gives the Lakers the stretch five they've missed since letting Brook Lopez go via free agency last summer.
These weren't the trades plenty of people envisioned when Davis's reps requested his exit from New Orleans. Maybe that will come this summer. And maybe, just maybe, the Lakers will be involved.