Next season, the Los Angeles Lakers will be able to pair Anthony Davis, who is only 26 years old, alongside LeBron James, one of the absolute greatest to ever play the game. The two will make up one of the more intimidating duos the NBA has ever seen, and is something the fan base can legitimately look forward to.
That doesn’t, however, necessarily take fully away from some very real concerns about the trade itself, and the process that went into it.
Today’s “Locked on Lakers” starts with a brief discussion on this topic. Usually, you’d think it would go without saying that it’s absolutely thrilling that we’ll get to watch a tandem that so perfectly fits together, but I guess I’ll say it explicitly: It’s absolutely thrilling that we’ll get to watch a tandem that so perfectly fits together.
I just can’t also help but wonder about the process that went into trading for Davis.
Based on all we’ve found out — not just about the deal but the negotiating done throughout its various incarnations — it seems like Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was given strict walking orders to get this trade done at all costs — short of including James, himself, and Kyle Kuzma. David Griffin seemed to recognize the desperation and was able to operate from a position of outright strength despite no other serious offers really coming his way.
Just to be absolutely clear, here: Davis, good! Trade, iffy!
If the trade package Pelinka sent back to New Orleans makes you nervous given the context under which it was negotiated, the circumstances under which the trade will be executed might knock you over. It’s been covered extensively already, but assuming Davis likes money and picks up his $4 million trade kicker, the Lakers’ cap space drops from the $32 million they would have had if the trade was slated to go through July 30 to just over $23 million.
Even if the Lakers aren’t in the market for a max-level free agent, that $9 million would come in handy seeing as they have two starter spots and an entire bench to fill out. This would seem to matter!
The Lakers gave up their top three assets, as well as potentially two more unprotected draft picks, but somehow couldn’t convince New Orleans their package wasn’t also enough to dictate the date of the trade too? What happened to Rob Pelinka, master negotiator?
So, yes, it’s incredible that we’ll get to watch two of the absolute best at their positions this season on the same team, it would also be nice to have seen this trade go through without these giant details hanging over our heads.
Are we cool with this? Can we all take a deep breath now that what should be a pretty non-controversial stance has been ironed out? Cool.
After that discussion, I opened up the mailbag to answer some of your questions that remained answerable after the Davis trade. Listeners wanted to know how I’d prefer to build out the roster, whether Kawhi Leonard’s Raptors jersey will get retired and more.
(Some unfortunate reporting on that front, by the way)
You can listen to the entire episode below, and make sure to subscribe on iTunes, where you can also leave questions in the form of a five-star review to guarantee your topic makes the show.