Proposed Lakers Trade Swaps AD for No. 1 Pick Package If LeBron Bolts

The Los Angeles Lakers face some difficult decisions this offseason beginning with whether LeBron James will test NBA free agency in the coming months. If James were to opt out and leave, the Lakers could consider hitting the reset button on the roster this offseason.

Bleacher Report’s Connor Thoms floated a potential blockbuster trade that has the Lakers landing the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Anthony Davis. The proposal has a few different paths based on whether the Lakers want to take on Dejounte Murray.

One deal Thoms floated was Los Angeles securing the No. 1 pick, two future first rounders, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanović. Atlanta gets Davis in the blockbuster deal.

“Let’s just say we get into a scenario where LeBron James leaves for some reason,” Thoms explained during a May 13, 2024 live stream. “LeBron James leaves the Lakers, say he goes to play with Bronny, and all the sudden the Lakers are going into a rebuild. Let’s take a look at Anthony Davis.

“… I just want to take a look at what a trade might look like for Anthony Davis. It would have to include, I would imagine Dejounte Murray to give them someone they could probably flip. Or you would throw in Clint Capela here to make the money work rather. Or maybe [the Hawks] even keep Dejounte Murray and you just throw in Bogdan Bogdanović instead.”

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To be clear, James could opt out of his current contract and still re-sign with the Lakers. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported that the early signs point to James wanting to retire with Los Angeles. Yet, this is a long offseason and James will likely be factoring in the Lakers’ moves before making a final decision about his future.

If James signs elsewhere, Los Angeles would be tasked with deciding whether they want to build their franchise around Davis. Los Angeles could opt to build around Davis, especially with how the star played this past season. Davis posted 27.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 blocks per game in 76 appearances in 2023-24.

NBA Trade Verdict: Lakers Pass on Hawks Package With No. 1 Pick

It sounds good to land the No. 1 pick, but on paper this does not appear to be a particularly strong draft class. The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo noted on a May 13 edition of “The Bill Simmons Podcast” that some NBA teams view the No. 1 pick as similar to a No. 10 selection in most drafts. Alex Sarr has plenty of upside but is not in the same tier as Davis.

Safe to say the trade value for the Hawks is not the same as the top pick in previous drafts. This deal only makes sense if the Lakers were attempting to cut cost in the post-LeBron era.

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Davis still has three seasons remaining on a $177 million contract. The big man has a $54.2 million cap hit for 2025-26.

The Hawks would have a new big three with Davis, Murray and Trae Young. Yet, Atlanta is already near the tax threshold, and it is hard to imagine taking on Davis’ lucrative contract.

Ultimately, the No. 1 pick plus Young or Murray would need to be the starting point in potential trade talks for Davis. The Lakers pass on this deal, even if James leaves in free agency.

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