The New Orleans Pelicans kept dealing in the hours leading up to the draft, sending the No. 4 pick acquired from the Lakers to offload Solomon Hill’s deal.
Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin continues to put his stamp on the New Orleans Pelicans, on Thursday swapping the No. 4 pick acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade to the Atlanta Hawks for four picks, including three in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
In addition to the Lakers pick at No. 4 overall, the Pelicans are sending the No. 57 selection in the second round, a future second-round selection and the remaining one year and $12.76 million remaining on the contract of forward Solomon Hill to Atlanta.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the trade.
In exchange, New Orleans picks up the Hawks’ No. 8 overall pick and the No. 17 overall pick from the Brooklyn Nets acquired when the Nets dumped Allen Crabbe’s remaining contract to create cap space. The Pelicans also get Atlanta’s pick at No. 35 in the second round and a top-10 protected first-rounder from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2020 draft.
The trade won’t become official until July 6, when the Hawks have the cap space necessary to absorb Hill’s contract, but puts New Orleans in a position to open up as much as $33.45 million in cap space — enough for one max deal or several rotational pieces.
Atlanta wants Virginia wing DeAndre Hunter at the No. 4 spot as a complementary piece to the young core the Hawks have assembled, led by Rookie of the Year finalist Trae Young and big man John Collins.
Given the Lakers didn’t exactly do their due diligence on all the salary cap implications of the Anthony Davis deal, the trade between the Pelicans and Hawks could be the salvation for Laker general manager Rob Pelinka … provided New Orleans and Atlanta play ball.
Pelinka could attach some or all of the younger players he’s been trying to offload to create a max slot under the cap — a group that includes Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones.
Wagner’s 2019-20 salary hit is $2.06 million, while Bonga and Jones are both at the minimum $1.42 million (Jones’ deal is non-guaranteed until the Jan. 10 deadline).
Moving those three deals would create an additional $4.9 million for the Lakers, creating a max of $28.57 million in cap space — enough to sign a young free agent to a max deal, but not enough for the $32.7 million needed to get a player such as Kawhi Leonard.
In any event, Griffin is rapidly reshaping the Pelicans, beginning later Thursday when New Orleans presumably takes Duke superstar Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.