The Anthony Davis trade vaulted the Lakers into instant title contenders in the West. But it came with a price.
The trade forced the Lakers to give up fan-favorite players Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Essentially, the team gave up an investment for the future in exchange for a chance to win now. And with LeBron James’ time clock ticking, nobody can blame them for that.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how these players develop away from the L.A. spotlight. According to their former teammate Kyle Kuzma, it’s something they were excited about when they first found out the trade went down.
“They were excited,” Kuzma said of Ingram, Ball and Hart after the trade. “It’s a little bit less pressure. They didn’t [actually] say that. But obviously being in L.A., there’s more pressure. They can be themselves now. They can go to New Orleans and develop into the superstars they were supposed to be.”
Apparently, the Lakers weren’t nearly as thrilled to see them go.
“Really, they told all of us,” Kuzma said of the Lakers not wanting to part with their former first-round picks. “They didn’t want to trade none of us, obviously. We were a great young group of guys that had a lot of promise. Anytime you got three, four young guys as a core in the NBA, you don’t want to trade those guys. But you have an opportunity to get a generational talent, stuff is bound to happen.”
Lakers’ @kylekuzma tells @TheAthleticNBA: “Playing with LeBron, with AD, I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career. So that’s motivation in itself. It’s a testament to my work ethic.” https://t.co/HC6FRIAmpl
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 9, 2019
With the Lakers, and for Lonzo especially, the guys were constantly being put under the microscope and scrutinized if they didn’t live up to early expectations. Los Angeles comes with a spotlight very few can handle.
In New Orleans, despite the arrival of Zion, the trio will have the chance to find themselves and grow in a developing system. Ingram, Hart, and Lonzo will be key for the Pelicans moving forward as they hope to build themselves up as a Western elite.