Anytime a superstar starts to get a little unhappy, one trend tends to pop up, regardless of how realistic it might be: The Los Angeles Lakers start getting mentioned as a possibility. This time, it’s Anthony Davis unhappy that his New Orleans Pelicans are once again on the outside looking in to the playoff picture. But that’s not all.
Duhn. Duhn. DUUUUUUHN.
Over the weekend, Russell Westbrook put up his typical fight, but his Oklahoma City Thunder got trounced by his former Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. It says something that Westbrook is having one of the greatest individual seasons in recent memory, yet his team is still currently only in the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
In today’s NBA where super teams are the norm (except in New York), superstars have to look at the collections of talent, then look back at the failings of their current organizations and wonder what could be. This isn’t to say there isn’t some accountability to take on the players’ part, but some thing are simply out of their control.
Their response: Take control.
Both Westbrook and Davis’ situations could hypothetically improve with just one move in their current cities. If they don’t, well, in step the Lakers. Here’s what Bleacher Report’s Brian Boyles had to say about one very exciting possibility:
Thad Foucher of the Wasserman Media Group, the same agency that represents Russell Westbrook, is Davis' agent. A source close to Davis' agent floated the possibility that the end game could find the two uniting in Los Angeles with the talent-starved Lakers.
It’s a perfect storm of rumors, really. But as of right now, that’s all it is.
Russell Westbrook is fiercely loyal to the Thunder. Davis just signed an extension that keeps him under contract in New Orleans until 2021. The Pelicans also aren’t about to trade a 23-year-old superstar while they already struggle to fill out the arena. The complications in this matter far outweigh the reasons as to why this might happen.
The framing of this rumor also makes things a little more interesting. No one has the faintest idea when end-game hypotheticals might take place. Is this at the end of Davis’ contract if Russ signs in Los Angeles at the end of his? Would the Lakers need to trade for Davis to intrigue Westbrook enough to come back to his hometown? There is no answer to all these questions.
The Lakers have stuff to take care of on their own. Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng take up way too much cap space to do anything serious in free agency right now. Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram are all going to get extensions starting next season. If Davis and Westbrook want to join up, but still make something close to fair market value, a few of those aforementioned guys would likely have to go.
But the fact remains: In today’s NBA, players wield more power than in the history of just about any other sport, let alone this league. Westbrook’s deal is up in 2019. He’s a signature away from being there much longer, but if the Thunder continue to find themselves looking up at all the other teams legitimately vying for a title even with Westbrook’s insane effort, both parties could see some writing on the wall.
It’s exciting as hell, but for the foreseeable future, that’s all it can be: an exciting hypothetical. As has been the case for quite some time now, the Lakers and their fan base can’t keep looking for quick fixes. The CBA simply doesn’t allow for that kind of thing. If something seriously starts coming of this, great, but for now, the focus has to be on developing the team they currently have.
Now, if you don’t mind, there’s work on the ESPN Trade Machine to be done.
UPDATE: The Westbrook/Davis situation will lead Tuesday’s episode of “Locked on Lakers”.