Report: Pelicans expected to give Lakers 2024 first-rounder and keep 2025 pick instead

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are expected to give the Los Angeles Lakers their draft pick in the 2024 NBA Draft and instead take the 2025 first-round selection from the Lakers, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

“As a result of the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers will lose their first-round pick to the Pelicans either this year or next,” O’Connor wrote. “People around the league expect that the Pelicans will give the Lakers their pick this year and take the 2025 pick. If that’s the case, it’s hard to fathom that Los Angeles would use the pick on Bronny [James]. Rob Pelinka is far more likely to use it to chase Trae Young or another star in a trade.”

Even though the Lakers are just the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference this season, multiple NBA executives reportedly believe that the 2024 draft is the worst class they have ever seen. So, it would make sense for New Orleans to pass up a draft pick in this year’s draft and wait for the 2025 NBA Draft.

As for the Lakers, there is still a chance that they end up in the lottery in the upcoming draft. Los Angeles is likely going to end up in the play-in tournament after losing to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, and it’ll need to win two play-in tournament games just to secure the No. 8 seed in the West if it ends up in the No. 9 or No. 10 spot in the standings.

James, the son of Lakers star LeBron James, has recently been compared to players like Patrick Beverley, Davion Mitchell and Norris Cole in regards to his draft projection. While those players are solid role players, it may not be the type of addition that Pelinka and the Lakers are looking to make with a potential lottery pick.

Plus, the elder James is nearing the end of his career (he’s currently in his age-39 season), and the Lakers are going to try to maximize the time they have left with him playing at a high level.

The four-time champion could throw a wrench in those plans if he decides to opt out of his contract (he has a player option for the 2024-25 season) and enter free agency this coming offseason.

If the elder James is set on playing with his son, the Lakers may need to alter their strategy this offseason to make sure they can bring the younger James onto the roster.

It’ll be interesting to see how Los Angeles proceeds with the 2024 NBA Draft if the Pelicans opt not to take the pick this offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.