Although Lonzo Ball would reportedly resist a trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans see him as an important part of any potential deal for Anthony Davis, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Sources tell her that Ball would become the starting point guard in New Orleans and would be given every opportunity to become a star.
Ball’s representatives had expressed concern that he might not have a clear role in a crowded Pelicans backcourt where Elfrid Payton is the starter at point guard and Jrue Holiday can also play that position. However, Holiday “doesn’t want to be a point guard” and prefers his current role, according to one source. It’s not clear whether the Pelicans intend to keep Payton or trade him to another team if they acquire Ball. He has an expiring $3MM contract and will be a free agent this summer.
There’s more Pelicans news to pass along:
- The Lakers believe New Orleans is targeting Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac as the main components of a Davis trade, relays Sam Amick of The Athletic in an examination of the key players in the drama. However, he adds that L.A. should be prepared to give up Brandon Ingram if that’s what it takes to get a deal finalized before next week’s trade deadline. Sources also tell Amick that LeBron James has been visibly frustrated over the direction the Lakers’ season has taken since he was sidelined with a groin injury on Christmas Day. L.A. has fallen to ninth place in the West, which should increase the urgency to acquire Davis as soon as possible.
- There has been speculation that the way the Davis situation has played out will eventually cost GM Dell Demps his job, but Justin Verrier of The Ringer points out that there’s no obvious candidate to replace him. In previous years, there was speculation that the Pelicans might ask Joe Dumars to take over, but Verrier suggests Dumars might have been responsible for those rumors. Many of Pelicans’ top executives also work for the NFL’s Saints and don’t have the basketball expertise to run a team. Former Hawks executive Danny Ferry has been serving as a consultant and could be next in line if Demps is dismissed. Verrier’s comments are part of a larger look at whether the NBA has a future in New Orleans.
- Davis will talk to the media Friday afternoon for the first time since making his trade request, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate.