The day we’ve all been waiting for is here: Anthony Davis has asked the New Orleans Pelicans to deal him to a team that allows him a consistent chance at winning, and the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to acquire him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN dropped the #WojBomb to end all #WojBombs on Monday morning, with Davis’ (and LeBron’s) agent Rich Paul taking the rare step in situations like this and going on record to voice his client’s request to get out of New Orleans:
“Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” Paul told ESPN. “Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers are looking to be that team (emphasis mine):
This is an opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to be aggressive in offering a package for Davis prior to Boston’s inclusion into talks. Paul also represents Lakers star LeBron James, and the Lakers have been determined to acquire Davis in a deal, league sources said.
The key factor for the Lakers here is that — due to a quirk in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement — right now they have a chance to bid for Davis without the Boston Celtics also getting involved. Both Davis and Kyrie Irving are on so-called “Rose Rule” extensions that allow teams to give young players who have reached certain performance benchmarks larger extensions earlier, but the rule also only allows each team to have one such player on their roster.
What that means is that because the Celtics already have Irving, they can’t acquire Davis until Irving either leaves their team or re-signs on a new deal this summer, which gives the Lakers several weeks before the trade deadline to try and get Davis without the Celtics being able to put in a counter-offer.
Now here’s where we get to the part where we have to ask the question: Should the Lakers trade for Davis no---- lollll just kidding, of course they should, he’s Anthony Freaking Davis, one of the best players in the NBA with the potential to at some point be the best.
Not only should the Lakers be trying to trade for Davis — and it sounds like they are — but they should be willing to empty the cupboard for the superstar. If it takes all of their young core and a couple of draft picks as well, that’s the price you pay to pair Davis and James, and you deal with the consequences later. The Lakers will surely not rush to offer that sort of godfather package without needing to, but if they need to, no one should be off the table.
The Lakers have to have learned from being patient this summer and not “overpaying” for Kawhi Leonard, or doing the same with Paul George the summer before. Not all of these situations are exactly the same, obviously, but the commonality is that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It’s time for the Lakers to go get their bird, because players like Davis are the whole point of saving up assets and keeping your cap sheets clean.
Something like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (to make salaries match) and likely a few draft picks works before the deadline, although it would require the Pelicans to waive a few players and the Lakers to sign a few off the scrap heap.
However, until we start to see how willing the Pelicans are to move Davis, this is all a lot of smoke with only the first sparks of a fire beginning to burn. As the weeks until the trade deadline on Feb. 7 move along, this surely won’t be the last time we are discussing Davis, what the price would be to get him and more, so sit back, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride until the deadline — and if the Lakers don’t deal for Davis by then, possibly beyond.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.