Remember that one time the Lakers tried to trade nearly everyone on their roster for Anthony Davis?
Josh Hart does, and during an appearance on the “Inside the Green Room” podcast with Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green, he detailed what it was like being involved in the heavily-reported trade discussions between the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline in February:
“It was just so bad because it was so public. I think that was the biggest thing ... Everything that was going on leaked out. Obviously, I don’t know: It could have been true, it could have not been true.”
The one thing Hart said he was fairly certain of was that no one on the roster was untouchable with the exception of two players: LeBron James, the team’s lone All-Star, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents James and Davis:
“You’re going through it and you’re like ‘Alright, man.’ You had no idea. Like, really, it seemed like nobody was untouchable honestly, besides LeBron and KCP. That was the only untouchable pieces. Fortunately for me, my name wasn’t really thrown in there until the last day when basically everyone on the roster was allegedly getting traded. It was just a weird situation because you had no idea.”
Caldwell-Pope was eventually included in one of the trade proposals the Lakers reportedly sent the Pelicans, but they did everything they could to leave him out of trade talks up until the final trade offer. Why is that?
The easiest conclusion to come to is that his agent, Rich Paul, wanted to keep him in Los Angeles with his two other clients, James and Davis, and while that may be true, there were other factors that made moving Caldwell-Pope difficult.
Since Caldwell-Pope signed consecutive one-year deals with the Lakers in free agency, he had a de facto no-trade clause in his contract because if he was traded, he would have lost his bird rights with his next team. In other words, even if Paul and James wanted to include Caldwell-Pope in a trade proposal for Davis, he would have had to sign off on it.
Still, the Klutch connection between James, Davis and Caldwell-Pope was enough to catch Hart’s notice at the time:
“It was just different because guys feel like, ‘Alright, we rocking together.’ Beginning of the year, we rocking together and then we had the injuries and A.D., who’s obviously with Klutch, so it’s like, ‘Alright, we don’t know what’s going on with this one.’ So it’s just different.”
It seems as though it’s water under the bridge at this point, but if the Lakers re-engage in trade talks for Davis this summer like they’re expected to, there’s no doubt these conversations about James and Klutch Sports will be had again, both online, and (apparently) in the locker room as well.