Josh Hart bids farewell to Los Angeles Lakers: 'Thank you for embracing me'

·Yahoo Sports Contributor
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Josh Hart #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against Demarre Carroll #9 of the Brooklyn Nets during the game at Barclays Center on December 18, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Josh Hart of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against Demarre Carroll. (Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)

Josh Hart will soon join the New Orleans Pelicans, but he will forever be grateful to the Los Angeles Lakers for drafting him.

On Saturday, Hart took to social media to thank the team and the fans in L.A.:

“I want to thank the Laker organization, Jeanie Buss & Magic Johnson for taking a chance on me & believing in me. To my teammates thank you for teaching me how to play & grow in this league. To the fans....THANK YOU! Thank you for embracing me and for supporting me through all the ups and downs! One of the best fan bases in the league. It was a dream come true to wear the purple and gold! It’s always love on this side but now N.O. “Let’s dance.”

Noticeably absent from Hart’s thank you message was Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. He mentioned by name former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and controlling owner Jeanie Buss, but made no mention of Pelinka.

Pelinka, of course, helped orchestrate the blockbuster trade that sent Hart, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and a bevy of first-round picks to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis.

Pelinka’s omission is noticeable and totally acceptable.

The Utah Jazz drafted Hart out of Villanova University with the very last pick (30th overall) of the first round in the 2017 draft. The Lakers traded for Hart and Thomas Bryant in exchange for the No. 28 overall pick, Tony Bradley.

He immediately integrated himself as a key member of the Lakers young core averaging 7.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists across his two seasons.

While the Lakers are looking to build a win-now roster with Davis and LeBron James, Hart is entering a Pelicans team that ended up better than most believed following the trade for Davis.

The Pelicans used their No. 1 overall pick to draft Zion Williamson and then flipped the Lakers’ No. 4 pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for picks Nos. 8, 17 and 35 which were utilized to draft Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Marcos Louzada-Silva, respectively.

Collectively, they formulate a strong young core alongside veteran Jrue Holiday.

Already, Hart believes they have a chance at playing in the NBA Finals. He told Bleacher Report to give his new team “three to four years” to develop.

It’s an optimistic point of view, but sometimes a little optimism is all you need.

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