Who said we had to wait till July 1st to set off the NBA Free Agency fireworks?
Now that the 2018-2019 season is in the books, basketball fans around the world turn their attention towards this week's NBA Draft. The high expectations of this year’s draft, that includes Duke superstar Zion Williamson, could very well end up as the best draft class of the decade.
Before the draft came, NBA fans could have already seen the move of the offseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers got their white whale and shook the very foundation of the Western Conference when they acquired Anthony Davis. A trade that seemed all but inevitable since the All-Star break, the deal was finally brokered a day before Father’s Day.
Though New Orleans was determined to hold on until the last thread gave way, the Pelicans front office finally realized the unavoidable-either trade Davis or risk losing him after this season.
Looking at the trade details, it is hard not to wonder what long term implications this will have on the two franchises as Los Angeles aborts their rebuilding plan by trading away not only three first-round picks but their budding stars Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. As of right now, it seems outside of Lebron and Davis, the only other person suiting up in the purple and gold might be General Manager Rob Pelinka.
Despite all the excitement that has taken place this past week, the Lakers are still on the prowl with new reports stating Kyrie Irving desires to join Davis and Lebron in Los Angeles-a signing that could solidify the Lakers rebirth into the conversation as the best team in the Western Conference.
However, with big names comes even bigger expectations as the Lakers are clearly in full on Al Davis mode, “JUST WIN BABY!”
The New Orleans Pelicans, on the other hand, seem primed and ready to build the team of the future with the former Lakers’ young core and likely number one overall selection Zion Williamson.
Though losing Davis was not ideal, It is hard not to look at the Pelicans as a viable long-term threat in the league with three of the NBA’s youngest stars paired with three first-round picks.
Speculation may claim Williamson desires to play elsewhere, but he put an end to those rumors stating. “It is a place I can see myself starting my career.”
Even if worse comes to worst for New Orleans, they certainly will have the ability to utilize their picks to set the course for the future or pursue veteran free agents to put them in position to compete this upcoming season.
With so much anticipation surrounding Free Agency and the 2019 Draft, there is no doubt this year's activities will set the landscape of the league for many years to come. Teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers will also be looking to make a splash, especially considering the extra spending money that will potentially be available due to key injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.
New York, which at one point was the desired landing spot for Zion Williamson, will look to avoid full panic mode by drafting fellow Duke standout R.J. Barrett.
What about the Memphis Grizzlies?
Another team in full rebuild mode after trading Marc Gasol and Mike Connely, Memphis has the opportunity to pair standout rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. with the already confirmed number two-pick, Murray State PG Ja Morant.
No matter what your favorite team does this summer one thing is for sure, come Thursday night all bets are off and in a year which saw a dynasty fall to the ground, now is the time to make a splash!
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