Sat Jun 15 10:06pm ET
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
The saga is over.
When this trade is done, everybody can say they won.
The Lakers, the Pelicans, Rich Paul, LeBron James, they all can take a victory lap. The trade that will be official in the coming weeks sending Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks - first reported by ESPN, later confirmed to The Associated Press by several people with knowledge of the matter - is perfect for both sides.
James gets the superstar teammate he wanted. Paul, the agent James and Davis share, pulls off a power move. The Lakers instantly become major players in a suddenly open Western Conference. Davis finally gets his wish to leave New Orleans. The Pelicans don't begin Zion Williamson's era with a disgruntled superstar in the locker room. They load up on young players and have tons of draft chips to play around with.
For the Pelicans, it's a new beginning.
For the Lakers, it's about winning now.
Draft picks, including No. 4 in this year's class, smartly were not overvalued by the Lakers - a team with a superstar who is turning 35 in December and should be doing anything necessary to help him win a fourth championship before his window closes. The Lakers have tons of money to spend starting June 30 and the sales pitch to Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving or anyone else changes mightily after this move.
Before Saturday it would have been Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka saying, ''We're trying to get Anthony Davis.''
Now it'll be Pelinka saying, ''We've got Davis, we've got LeBron and they want you with them.''
That'll be a tough offer for anyone to ignore.
James is going to get another Big Three out of this: It was Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and him in Miami; Kevin Love, Irving and him in Cleveland; Davis, him and TBA with the Lakers. Clearly, the focus will be on a guard, which is why the rumor mill will be all about either Walker or Irving going to Los Angeles in free agency.
The offseason is already in high gear.
Hard to believe it really just got started.
This deal got agreed to before the newly crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors - this is true - hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy on Canadian soil for the first time. They won Thursday night at Oracle Arena to end Golden State's reign, then stopped for a party in Las Vegas before the parade in Toronto on Monday.
Not even 48 hours after they popped corks, the Lakers were starting their own celebration.
Williamson will get drafted No. 1 overall on Thursday night, and he'll go to New Orleans in the awkward spot of being an 18-year-old (he doesn't turn 19 until July 6) with a franchise on his shoulders. The Lakers will still be drafting No. 4 overall, though they'll be doing so on New Orleans' behalf because the trade cannot be consummated beforehand. The Pelicans need a center, and will likely look at the trade market.
The Pelicans have to watch an incredible player, one of the league's very best, leave. But David Griffin - the man tasked with rebuilding the Pelicans - clearly had concluded that there was no way of convincing Davis to not leave as a free agent next summer anyway. Had Griffin waited to make a deal in-season, there's almost no way he could have pulled off this kind of haul in return. The longer he waited, the less the value. So they push the reset button and move on, which was the most prudent play.
Let the ripple effects begin.
The Warriors not only have to figure out what to do if Kevin Durant leaves, but how to contend next year without the Achilles-rehabbing Durant and the ACL-rehabbing Klay Thompson (for at least much of the season). Other contenders in the West - Houston, Denver, Portland - will be viewing the Warriors' woes as opportunity, so they'll be looking at ways to get better as well. And Boston will be dealing with the reality that not only are its hopes of landing Davis gone, but that Irving is likely leaving as well.
There will be countless big moves in the coming weeks. The Lakers, who have missed the playoffs in the last six seasons and have been stuck in dysfunction mode for the last couple months following the resignation of Magic Johnson and soap opera that followed, got the first one of the offseason to go their way.
Welcome to summer. Game on.
Brooklyn Nets guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) is going to be sidelined for a few games, according to head coach Jacque Vaughn. He looked solid during his bubble debut, but sadly it was short lived because of a hamstring strain. It's unclear if Crawford's injury will heal in time for him to help the team on the court this season. Caris Levert and Joe Harris (groin) will see a few extra minutes without Crawford available right now.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He is currently dealing with a left hip strain, but there isn't much more information out right now. Finney-Smith has been playing heavy minutes during the bubble, so his absence leaves a fairly significant void in the rotation. Maximilian Kleber could be asked to step up if Finney-Smith is unable to play. Fantasy owners should check back for an update on Saturday.
Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry (leg) has been upgraded to questionable for Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. This is great news as it sounds like Curry is making progress and getting closer to a return. Delon Wright and Trey Burke have seen increased roles with Curry sidelined. However, neither of them have been able to capitalize on the opportunity. Curry should be a reliable DFS option once he's able to get back on the court. Until then, it's tough to trust Wright or Burke in DFS contests.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Glenn Robinson III (hip) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the Orlando Magic. He was able to get through practice on Thursday, so the team is hopeful that he can make his bubble debut soon. There should be some playing time available while Ben Simmons (knee) is sidelined. Until then, James Ennis and Alec Burks will be asked to play a few extra minutes without Robinson available. Neither of them are reliable DFS options right now.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott (knee) is available for Friday's game against the Orlando Magic. The team will be without Ben Simmons (knee) for the foreseeable future, which means someone is going to need to step up. Al Horford figures to gain the most fantasy value and playing time from the loss of Simmons. He might be a risky DFS option since Horford has struggled with the Sixers. Scott will back him up off the bench, but doesn't offer much fantasy value.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (leg) is listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. He suffered a left lower leg contusion during Wednesday's game. The team might decide to take the cautious approach and have Adams sit out here. Nerlens Noel would be asked to step up and start if Adams is unable to go. He's averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists through six starts this season. Noel is looking like an intriguing DFS option for Friday's slate, assuming Adams is unable to play.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (rest) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the Washington Wizards. It's the second game of a back-to-back set, so the Pelicans will take the cautious approach and rest Williamson. He played 22 minutes on Thursday, but the team continues to be careful with their prized rookie. Derrick Favors and Nicolo Melli will be asked to do more without Williamson available. Favors is the better fantasy option out of the two. Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday will see a higher usage and hopefully more fantasy value because of it.
Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (groin) is listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings. He is dealing with a left groin contusion after battling a hamstring injury earlier this week. The team may decide to rest Harris and let him heal up for next game. Caris Levert, Timothe Luwawu and Garrett Temple would stand to gain the most fantasy value if Harris sits out. LeVert is the best fantasy option out of the trio and is likely going to be a popular DFS choice for Friday's slate.
Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (ankle) is listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings. He suffered a left ankle sprain during Wednesday's contest. The team is unsure if this will force him to the sideline, but hopefully it's only a one game absence at maximum. Rodions Kurucs would likely be asked to start at center again if Allen sits out. He wasn't too impressive during his last start, so he can probably be avoided in DFS contests if Allen is out.
Sacramento Kings guard Kent Bazemore (calf) is currently listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Brooklyn Nets. Bazemore has been dealing with left calf soreness, so the team might limit him here. He has been decent during the bubble, averaging 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steals. Buddy Hield should gain the most fantasy value if Bazemore is unable to play. He'd be a reliable DFS option, especially with extended playing time. Fantasy owners should check back closer to tip-off for more information.
Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (hip) is listed as questionable for Friday's game against the Brooklyn Nets. He has been underwhelming during the bubble, but maybe the 10-day quarantine through off his conditioning. Alex Len and Harry Giles would be asked to split up a majority of the minutes at center if Holmes is unable to play. The Nets have struggled to stop centers, but neither of these two are exciting options.
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (ankle) is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Phoenix Suns. He's in jeopardy of missing his second straight game, but we'll have to wait and see how his injury progresses. Jimmy Butler (foot) has been ruled out, which would normally mean Dragic stands to gain value. However, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro should gain plenty of fantasy value if Dragic sits out on Saturday. Fantasy owners should check back for another update closer to tip-off.
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (foot) will sit out his third game in a row on Saturday versus the Phoenix Suns. He is dealing with right foot soreness, but it's unclear how significant the injury is at the moment. The Heat might have Butler sit out a few games as a precaution. Goran Dragic (ankle) is questionable for this one, which could make the Heat shorthanded. Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro should be popular DFS options for Saturday's slate without Butler available.
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. He was listed as doubtful heading into this game, but the team mentioned he won't be re-evaluated for a few days. Wesley Iwundu and Gary Clark should both see extended playing time. Terrence Ross is the biggest winner in terms of fantasy production. Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic will likely be asked to do more on the court without Gordon available.
Orlando Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams (foot) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. He was listed as questionable, but the team decided to have him sit out at least one more game here. The Magic are fairly shorthanded, so it'll be interesting to see what they do with their rotations. Terrence Ross should get all the playing time he can handle, which should make him a popular DFS option.
Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley (knee) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. The team is already without Rudy Gobert (rest) and Donovan Mitchell (leg), so they figured they'd let Conley rest as well. Jordan Clarkson should move into the starting five and be a useful DFS option. Emmanuel Mudiay is likely going to get more minutes as well, but he is not quite as reliable as Clarkson.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (leg) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. He is dealing with a peroneal strain in his left leg, so the team will give him the day off to rest. It's unclear whether it's a day-to-day issue, but the team is hopeful he'll be back next game. Mike Conley (knee) will join him on the sideline for this one. That means Joe Ingles (foot) will see a heavy workload with Jordan Clarkson and Emmanuel Mudiay getting plenty of chances as well. Ingles is the best fantasy option out of the three, but he could be limited because of his foot issue.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (rest) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. The team figured they'd give Gobert the day off with Mike Conley (knee) and Donovan Mitchell (leg) out as well. Tony Bradley is expected to draw the start with Ed Davis likely backing him up. Bradley is averaging 11.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in 22.6 minutes through his two starts this season. He could make for an interesting low-cost DFS option for Friday's slate.
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (foot) is available for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. He is dealing with some right foot soreness, but is able to play through the issue. The Jazz will be without Mike Conley (knee), Donovan Mitchell (leg) and Rudy Gobert (rest) in this one. It's unclear if the team plans to limit Ingles at all because of the foot issue. However, if they don't he'll see a huge workload and should be a reliable DFS option.
Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale (calf) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz have Rudy Gobert (rest), Mike Conley (knee), and Donovan Mitchell (leg) sitting out for this one as well. This seems like a punt game, so that the Jazz players can get back to full health. Georges Niang is someone who could benefit without O'Neale on the court. However, he has not played well during the bubble games, so DFS players might want to stay away from him.