Earlier this week, Anthony Davis signed with Klutch Sports, paving the way for the 25-year-old superstar to team up with LeBron James when his contract expires in 2020, or at least that’s the hope in Los Angeles. However, according to recent odds released by Bovada, he could be suiting up in a Lakers uniform even sooner than that.
The sports betting site has given the Lakers the best odds (-190) to land Davis before the start of the 2019-20 season, followed by the Boston Celtics (+250), the New Orleans Pelicans (+300) and the Golden State Warriors (+750). So far, so good, right?
But Davis’ contract with the Pelicans is guaranteed through the 2019-20 season, meaning in order for all the Lakers jersey photoshops of him to become a reality, the Lakers would have to facilitate a trade for Davis before then. That’s where things start to get complicated.
The first opportunity for the Lakers to make a trade won’t come until December, but it’s highly unlikely the Pelicans will look to deal Davis in the middle of the season, especially if they’re still in the playoff hunt in February, as they are expected to be.
The next and really only other feasible time for Los Angeles to put together a package for Davis will be next summer. After stretching and waiving Luol Deng this summer, the Lakers are projected to have roughly $38 million in cap space next season, which would allow them to absorb Davis’ $27.09 million outright.
The question then is, would the Lakers rather use that flexibility to give up assets in a trade for Davis or would they rather try their luck at signing a superstar free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant? If the Lakers decide they prefer the latter, Davis won’t be an option for them for the foreseeable future.
Assuming the Lakers signed a max free agent next summer, they wouldn’t be able to match salaries in a trade for Davis until at least December of 2019. Even then, it would be tough to match salaries without including both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, plus one of Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
Granted, it would be for Anthony Davis, so you do that deal every time, but it’s still a lot of depth to give up for one player.
Then again, would a team with James, Davis and Leonard really need a bench? Or even two other starters? There’s only one way to find out.
Davis will be linked to the Lakers until he signs an extension with the Pelicans or gets traded to another team. The Lakers can potentially be that team, but it won’t be easy.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.