Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers don’t even yet know what number Anthony Davis will wear, but he’s already (apparently) hard at work trying to make the situation around him as optimal as it can be.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN — while speaking on “The Hoop Collective” podcast — Davis has teamed up with James to see if they can convince a third star to join them this summer:
“Anthony Davis, we don’t know how he is as a recruiter, but I’ve certainly heard that he’s been busy with the text messages and phone calls already. This was what, last Saturday that this went through? So you have two recruiters now. It’s not just LeBron, it’s Anthony Davis, who hasn’t really ever been in a market or situation where his pull mattered, but we’re about to find out, and I think it’s an interesting referendum on who wants to play with LeBron, but also who wants to come play with Anthony Davis and LeBron.
“In Cleveland, the fact that (LeBron) was able to move those two guys so quickly with just a phone call speaks volumes with how he was regarded in the league at that time, and how the opportunity to play there alongside him was regarded at the time. That was what, five, six years ago now? So let’s see. Let’s see where we are. Things have changed, and situations have changed.”
We’ll get to Shelburne’s concerns here in a bit, but it’s absolutely worth noting how quickly Davis got to work trying to convince free agents to join him and James in Los Angeles. It’s also worth pointing out how much easier doing that while playing for the Lakers is compared to doing so with the Pelicans.
It’s always been an odd point to try to make that markets don’t matter, but this is now concrete evidence that Davis might find it easier to recruit while playing for the Lakers than he had it in New Orleans.
Now, Shelburne’s points about James trying to recruit now compared to when he was on his way to Cleveland is an interesting one. The changing circumstances she references could mean anything, but let’s start with age and how that might affect James’ relations throughout the league.
Previously, stars that James has teamed up have been his peers (think Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Kevin Love). The other star James played with who wasn’t in his age group was Kyrie Irving, and he famously later asked to be traded. It’s impossible to say what exactly was behind that decision, but it’s worth pointing that out.
My counter to that (if it’s something people are arguing is a factor) is this: Well, Davis is 26 years old and signed up to play with James. And if James has difficulty relating to younger stars, then Davis can help in that regard — something he seems to be already doing.
This is just one circumstance of many that Shelburne might have been talking about, but it’s an important one. And the more counterpoints the Lakers and James can make to any of these concerns, the better their chances get of actually adding more top-level talent to the roster.
Whether or not Davis and James convince anyone to join them in Los Angeles is kind of moot until the Lakers open up the necessary cap room to be able to add a third superstar. But if the Lakers accomplish that, and a third star is added (whoever they might be), it’s hard not to feel like the Lakers aren’t among the favorites to win a title next year. That’s a pretty solid selling point.