The Perfect Three-Team AD Trade?

There’s no question that the Pelicans made a great move hiring David Griffin as their VP of Basketball Operations. With a single bold stroke, Griffin’s given NBA teams the perfect framework for a three-team trade for Anthony Davis.

The framework Griffin laid out for NBA teams seeking to trade for Davis is targeted directly at the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the best package of tradeable assets and the most leverage as Davis’ top preferred destination. The package Griffin is seeking is one All-Star player, one young player with All-Star potential, and two first round draft picks but on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the pick requests, and vice versa.

Griffin’s goal is obviously to acquire a pair of elite young players whom he can immediately play alongside talented point guard Jrue Holiday and rookie superstar power forward Zion Stephenson to create an instant playoff team. It’s a bold and smart plan that shows why Jeanie Buss and the Los Angeles Lakers should have interviewed David Griffin as perfect front office executive to replace Magic Johnson as the team’s president of basketball operations.

At this point, the Lakers have to grateful that Dell Demps and Magic Johnson are no longer in charge of these negotiations. The framework David Griffin’s provided is straight forward and simple for Rob Pelinka to understand. It also does not include any complicating factors such as the Lakers taking back any of New Orleans’ bad contracts. Griffin’s looking to complete the trade for Davis no later than this weekend, so here’s the deal the Lakers should offer:

  1. The Washington Wizards receive Brandon Ingram and the Lakers’ #4 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The Wizards get a 21-year old future All-Star in Ingram who plays the same position as Beal and averaged 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists last year. Ingram is 4 years younger, a better defender, and will cost $10 million less per year than Beal when extended. PLUS, they get the #4 pick in the draft, which they could use to draft 19-year old point guard Darius Garland as John Wall’s eventual replacement.
  2. The New Orleans Pelicans receive Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and the Lakers first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Pelicans get a 25-year old All-Star not yet in his prime that averaged similar numbers to AD, 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists last year. Beal would be a great fit playing with Holiday and Stephenson. PLUS, they get a future potential All-Star in Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers’ first round draft pick for next year. Holiday, Beal, Kuzma, and Zion would be an immediate playoff contender.
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers receive Anthony Davis. The Lakers get a 26-year old superstar in Anthony Davis who averaged 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists last year to pair with LeBron James and create an immediate championship contender. PLUS, they get to keep point guard Lonzo Ball and shooting guard Josh Hart. They would also still have more than $20 million in cap space to sign multiple elite role players. Lonzo, Hart, LeBron, and AD would be legitimate NBA title contenders.

I’d argue that this trade would be a win-win-win scenario for all three teams. The big holdup might be the Wizards, who don’t have a general manager at this point and could consider Beal still young enough to rebuild around. However, the opportunity to get the 21-year old Ingram and the #4 pick in the draft to go with the #9 pick they already have would give the Wizards three elite young players around which to jump start their rebuilding effort.

As for the Pelicans, they replace the 26-year old Davis with the 25-year old Beal and add a talented young player with All-Star potential in Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers first round draft pick for next year. David Griffin essentially pulls off a magical deal to keep the Pelicans relevant and avoids what could have been a disastrous summer. It’s a trade that if pulled off could easily earn Griffin NBA Executive of the Year honors and save the Pelicans franchise.

As for the Lakers, they would have to give up the dream of a superstar Big Three but would land a second top-five superstar to pair with LeBron James while keeping two of their four best young players and over $20 million in cap space to sign a second tier free agent like Nikola Vucevic, a pair of proven veteran role players like Dewayne Dedmon and Danny Green, or a trio of good role players like Patrick Beverley, Seth Curry, and Marcus Morris.

Griffin’s framework will also attract other NBA teams hoping to replicate the Raptors’ successful one-year ‘rental’ of Kawhi Leonard by putting together a deal including borderline All Stars. The Knicks might try to package a deal with the Cavaliers that included Kevin Love or the Nets might try to package a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell but none of those deals should have the lure to the Wizards or Pelicans as the deal the Lakers could put together.

While there may be other teams who put together viable packages, the Lakers appear to clearly be the odds on favorites in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. The only question is whether Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka and his dysfunctional committee of front office consultants can craft a deal the Wizards and Pelicans consider to be a win. If he can trade for Anthony Davis while keeping Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, he will have done a great job.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.