Report: There’s ‘palpable fear’ within Lakers of Pelicans pick swap amid Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

As all NBA fans know, the prized jewel of the 2023 NBA Draft seems destined to be French national Victor Wembanyama.

When the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to include a pick swap for their 2023 first-round draft pick in the 2019 deal for superstar Anthony Davis, they likely could not have imagined that they’d be at risk of being a lottery team in 2023.

However, that is exactly what appears to be very possible at the moment. Furthermore, it seems as though there is fear within the Lakers organization that their 2023 first-round pick could end up giving the New Orleans Pelicans the top pick.

“There is already a palpable fear inside (what I still like to call) Staples Center that the Purple & Gold are careening toward a draft in June in which the New Orleans Pelicans are gleefully positioned to swap picks with L.A. as a condition of the Anthony Davis blockbuster deal in July 2019,” Marc Stein wrote on his Substack.

Obviously, the Lakers losing out on the opportunity to draft Wembanyama, who is just 18 years old and widely considered to be the best prospect since LeBron James, would be a catastrophic occurrence.

That is true even though the trade for Davis was obviously a key factor in the Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship.

One very easy way that the Lakers could vastly improve this season and avoid that worst-case scenario is by completing a blockbuster trade.

It is still early enough in the season that the Lakers could make a big move and get their campaign back on track. However, there seems be a hesitancy to do just that.

That might indicate that the Lakers do not feel any available trade would make them title contenders. Trading away multiple first-round picks only to miss out on another NBA championship would only add insult to injury for the Lakers.

In addition, making the wrong move would likely add even more ammunition to the growing argument that Lakers top executive Rob Pelinka is poorly managing the team.

There is no question that if the Lakers continue to lose games in bunches, the anxiety within the organization and city itself will continue to heighten.

The good news for the Lakers is that they do have some pretty favorable matchups coming up to close out the month of November.

They’ll face the Detroit Pistons on Friday and then take on the San Antonio Spurs three separate times in six days. They also have a matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 28.

Getting some wins in those contests would help boost morale within the organization and likely give it a bit of breathing room.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.