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Lakers reportedly had trade in place to swap Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Jabari Parker, but talks fell apart when Anthony Davis requested a move

Magic Johnson really considered Jabari Parker reinforcements for LeBron James. The Lakers really might be in trouble.

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will mercifully have their season end in mere hours, and based on leaks coming out of the organization, chances of media warfare in the aftermath feel pretty high. Bill Oram of The Athletic dropped yet another bombshell-laden article Tuesday morning, one that is worth reading in its entirety.

In it, he reported a few details that might worry fans, but none more so than someone in Lakers management thinking Jabari Parker is in any way, shape or form “reinforcements.”

The need for reinforcements was glaring, and on the weekend of Jan. 25, the Lakers had a tentative deal in place to acquire Bulls forward Jabari Parker in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley, league sources told The Athletic. However, Caldwell-Pope — another Rich Paul client — had to approve any trade and had not signed off on the deal. The Bulls awaited Caldwell-Pope’s approval over that weekend, sources said.

The deal remained in limbo until Jan. 28, when Davis requested a trade out of New Orleans. With most around the league viewing that statement, issued by Paul, as an effort to team Davis with James in L.A., the Bulls moved on and realized the Lakers would cease business until the Davis saga unfolded. Chicago eventually traded Parker to Washington for Otto Porter Jr. at the deadline.

So just so we’re clear, the Lakers were willing to trade one of their few decent shooters and one of only two players at his position (KCP) for a younger, worse version of Carmelo Anthony Parker, who would’ve been one of five guys at his natural position (LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart all spent time at the four) and probably ranks fifth in terms of usefulness.

In a way, we could technically be in Caldwell-Pope’s debt for not having to watch Parker be yet another drag on a defense that had already fallen off a cliff in Lonzo Ball’s absence.

Jeanie Buss can yell about “fake news” all she wants, but this is also yet another report about how publicly the Lakers’ dealings with New Orleans were for Davis. If we’re to believe this report, they essentially pushed away from the negotiating table with Chicago so quickly that it was on Bulls management to read the tea leaves and send Parker elsewhere.

To his credit, Parker netted Chicago a very useful player in Porter, even if he’s probably overpaid. Maybe the league just views Parker differently, but his fit would have further constipated a rotation that already made very little sense.

Now, a deal obviously didn’t go through. KCP is a game away from free agency and Beasley is in China. The Lakers are also going to watch the playoffs from home. If they want to change that next year, the front office’s talent evaluation abilities will have to improve. Caldwell-Pope might not be there to bail them out in the Klutch next season.

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