Report: Pelicans Defer Lakers’ First-Round Draft Pick to 2025

The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to defer the 2024 first-round draft pick owed to them by the Los Angeles Lakers until 2025, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This pick is part of the compensation from the Anthony Davis trade. The Pelicans have already received two picks from the deal and will now receive the final pick next year, allowing the Lakers to retain the 17th overall selection this month. New Orleans had until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday to make this decision.

The trade, agreed upon in June 2019, involved the Lakers sending Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first-round picks to the Pelicans.

By deferring the Lakers’ first-round pick to 2025, the Pelicans will hold the 21st pick in this year’s draft. The Lakers will have both the 17th pick in the first round and the 55th pick in the second round.

The 2024 NBA draft is scheduled to take place on June 26-27 in New York City.

Speculation: Lakers’ Draft Strategy and LeBron James

There is growing speculation that the Lakers’ ability to retain their first-round pick could play a crucial role in their efforts to keep LeBron James with the team next season and beyond. Rumors suggest that the Lakers are interested in drafting LeBron’s son, Bronny James, as a way to entice the all-time great to remain with the franchise.

LeBron has often expressed his desire to play alongside his son in the NBA, and Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss is reportedly keen on ensuring that LeBron retires as a Laker. By holding onto their 17th overall pick, the Lakers now have a viable path to potentially draft Bronny James, making this dream a reality.

Drafting Bronny could serve as a significant gesture to LeBron, strengthening his commitment to the Lakers and further solidifying his legacy with the team. With the 2024 NBA draft fast approaching, all eyes will be on the Lakers’ strategy and their efforts to build a team that not only remains competitive but also fulfills one of LeBron’s personal aspirations.

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