The New Orleans Pelicans already hit the jackpot Tuesday night. Now it's time for them to use their leverage.
By winning the NBA Draft lottery, New Orleans all but acquired Duke sensation Zion Williamson. Selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick gives vice president of basketball operations David Griffin a ton of leverage heading into the much-anticipated Anthony Davis negotiations this offseason.
Is Williamson enough to keep Davis in the Crescent City? Probably not, which means the trade rumors will continue.
The Pelicans getting the top pick definitely hurts Boston's chances at winning the Davis sweepstakes, but it appears the Celtics might have one less competitor this summer.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, New Orleans does not want to do any business with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The Pelicans do not want to do business with the Lakers, they just don't," Windhorst said on ESPN Radio LA's "Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis." "That's an easy position to take if they don't have something you really want. If the Lakers had won the lottery, we might be having a different conversation. But they did not win, and to make things worse, the Pelicans did."
New Orleans' lottery victory certainly throws a wrench into the offseason projections for Davis and the Pels, but it only will heighten the drama, which seems to already be there between these two clubs.
"I also think there's animus. There is absolutely animus," Windhorst said. "There is some some belief, whether it's true or not, that Anthony Davis' trade demand, which derailed this past season for the Pelicans, was Lakers-involved. … I would say there's probably going to be a cold war between these two teams for the foreseeable future."
Time will tell where Davis ends up, but it certainly sounds like the Lakers are a long-shot. If that's the case, it's great news for Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office.