As the Los Angeles Lakers continue their downward spiral, there is apparently growing concern within the organization that they may end up winning the sweepstakes for Victor Wembanyama, but not for themselves.
An insider with knowledge of the NBA named Marc Stein reported that the Los Angeles Lakers organization is experiencing “palpable fear” because of the 2023 pick swap debt they owe to the New Orleans Pelicans. If the season were to end today, the Los Angeles Lakers (3-10), who are among the four teams with the best odds of winning the lottery and acquiring Wembanyama, would be one of those teams.
Scoot Henderson is widely considered to have the potential to become a bona fide NBA superstar and is currently ranked as the No. 2 player in this year’s draft class, regardless of where the Lakers’ selection ultimately lands. It is not inconceivable that the Los Angeles Lakers will have dealt the New Orleans Pelicans a generational talent in addition to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, a player of All-Star caliber whom the Lakers have already traded to the Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis.
Because New Orleans also has the option of choosing the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick in either 2024 or 2025, it is safe to say that the franchise will not have a realistic opportunity to acquire a great player via the draft until at least 2025, if not until 2026.
While it is unlikely that many Lakers supporters would give away the 2020 title
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Pelicans were the long-term winners of the Davis blockbuster trade. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Davis was traded to the Pelicans. The Lakers have only gotten one season of true superstar production from Davis in an otherwise disappointing tenure, whereas New Orleans has built a strong young core of talent that should compete for playoff spots for years to come. The Pelicans should continue to compete for playoff spots for the foreseeable future.
It is becoming more and more obvious that Davis is not a guy who is capable of carrying the torch in an age after LeBron James; rather, he is more of a supporting role player on a championship team. In Year 20, the battle between James and Father Time is starting to show signs of strain, and James is starting to lose.
In other words, the worries that have been circulating in the front office of the Lakers are justified due to the possibly devastating reality.
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