LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – L.A. Lakers fans ecstatic that scoring the No. 4 overall pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery got them a step closer to acquiring New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis may have to temper that excitement for now.
On Tuesday, the Lakers defied the odds and won the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft, this despite just a 9.4 percent chance of doing so.
Many believe that the Lakers will be able to use that pick to accomplish what they failed to do this season: once-and-for-all pry the much coveted Davis away from the Pelicans in a trade.
However, that may not be in the offing, ESPN veteran reporter Jackie MacMullan said last week.
Speaking on fellow reporter Brian Windhorst’s podcast May 10, MacMullan disclosed that the prevailing sentiment is that Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has no desire to trade Davis to the Lakers. In fact, Benson is vehemently opposed to it.
“We have been told, I think, through channels, most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt: that Gayle Benson has basically told (Pelicans General Manager David Griffin), ‘To the Lakers, over my dead body,’” MacMullan said.
On Friday, Benson told WDSU-TV in New Orleans that the reports that she had said something to this effect were “totally absurd,” and “completely untrue.”
Despite only a 6 percent chance of doing so, the Pelicans won the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, and subsequently the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. It’s unclear whether drafting Zion would change Davis’ desire to leave New Orleans.
Davis and the Lakers own LeBron James are represented by the same agency, Klutch Sports Group, which is managed by James’ friend Rich Paul. In January, Davis informed the Pelicans that he will not resign with the team when his contract is up following the 2019-20 season, prompting many to believe he was trying to strong-arm a trade to the Lakers.
The Lakers attempt to acquire Davis at the February trade deadline threw their team into turmoil and torpedoed their season. It also angered the Pelicans organization. The Pelicans rejected a Lakers offer that included a haul of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks.
The Lakers, who were squarely in the playoff conversation prior to the Davis trade rumors, saw their season fall apart following the All-Star break.
Just prior to the final game of the regular season, Magic Johnson abruptly announced he was stepping down as president of basketball operations. Johnson told reporters he was resigning even before he informed owner Jeannie Buss. Three days after the season ended, the Lakers fired head coach Luke Walton.