Josh Hart has said goodbye to Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old shooting guard delivered a message to the Lakers on Saturday via Twitter and thanked them for “believing in him.” The Villanova product was drafted by the Jazz with the last first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft before being traded to Los Angeles, where he spent two seasons.
“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.'”
Hart was traded to New Orleans earlier this month alongside Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 pick in 2019. The last words in his statement to the Lakers referenced a message Zion Williamson delivered to Pelicans fans Thursday after he was selected with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
New Orleans is about to undergo a serious transformation, and Hart could be a big part of that. He’ll join a prolific defensive backcourt that features Ball and Jrue Holiday.
Hart was third among all qualified NBA shooting guards in DRPM in 2018-19. Only Jimmy Butler and Danny Green were better when it came to this stat. While Hart did struggle with a patellar tendon injury in his right knee this past season, he’s had work done on that in preparation for 2019.
Hart averaged 7.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 2018-19 and it appears like he’s ready for the next chapter of his career.