Anthony Davis won’t officially become a member of the Lakers until July 6, but he just made his first public comments about what it is that drew him to Los Angeles.
Davis told Arash Markazi of The L.A. Times that the reason he wanted to join the Lakers was very simple: to win.
Davis doesn’t know exactly what the Lakers will look like next season. The team has only James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker under contract at the moment. But Davis’ expectations are clear as he enters his eighth season.
“My goal is to win a championship,” Davis said. “I expect to win every time I step on the court, every game. I want to win a title. That’s what it’s about — winning titles. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
Because Davis hasn’t spoken about his trade request publicly — the majority of the discussion has been dominated by his agent Rich Paul and the Pelicans — other people have speculated why Davis wants to come to Los Angeles. As with LeBron James before him, people have theorized that Paul wanted his client in L.A. for non-basketball reasons. But Davis is flat-out denying that. He has only won one playoff series in his seven years in the league, and he would like to win some more.
If the goal is to win titles, historically, the Lakers present a better opportunity than just about any other franchise in the NBA. In the present, the team already has James, who has won three championships and played in six additional NBA Finals. Regardless of the work David Griffin has done to rebuild New Orleans on the fly, the Pelicans don’t have anybody like James on their roster to help Davis win at the highest level right now. The Lakers have also made it clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to win in the next 2-3 years. That’s the type of commitment Davis appears to be looking for.
Davis’ statement also reveals a great deal of confidence in the Lakers front office. As Markazi mentions, the team only has four players on its roster, and Horton-Tucker isn’t even technically signed yet. The grand plan of acquiring Davis involves recruiting another superstar to play alongside him and James, and that requires Davis having faith in Rob Pelinka to do so — which is likely why he’s already agreed to waive his trade kicker. Davis must also believe that Pelinka can build a roster beyond whichever superstars take the floor for the Lakers, because depth is another hallmark of championship teams.
There is a great deal of work to be done to make the Lakers a championship roster, but they now have two top players with a title-or-bust mentality. That’s a solid start.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. Here is a list of every free agent credibly connected to the Lakers so far.