Storyline: Anthony Davis to Lakers?

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The Lakers will now turn their attention to an offseason in which they are expected to revisit trade options for Davis, while also chasing top targets in free agency – as unlikely as it is that Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will come, according to a league source who believes the Lakers will be second or third on those players’ lists. The fear that the Lakers could strike out with their top targets has already led to some message massaging. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James told The Athletic. The Lakers could build a team of complementary pieces better suited for James, like Boston’s Marcus Morris or Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, and fare better than they did this season. But it would run counter to Johnson’s stated philosophy. After all, on a World Series broadcast last fall, Johnson declared, “I’m going to get another superstar next summer!”
1 month ago via SLAM

Do you think the Anthony Davis situation misled the franchise and the players? Kobe Bryant: “I say no. [Kyle] Kuzma, Lonzo [Ball], [Brandon] Ingram… are the three of them better than Anthony Davis? No! Ciao! Bye! Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not currently, in history. What are we talking about? If you can trade for Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, alright. We have three players who are very young and work hard. They’re smart and they have to develop. But if you can trade for Anthony Davis… yes!”

Yet, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the real root of the comments was much more nuanced it might have appeared. From Jeanie on down, there is a growing belief that rival teams like New Orleans have gone to great lengths to do the kind of subversive damage that is nearly impossible to prove. Johnson himself has said that he doesn’t believe the Pelicans negotiated in good faith, and it certainly was unique to see trade packages with remarkable specificity being reported throughout the process.

Chris Haynes on where Anthony Davis will be to start the 2019-20 season: “I’m going to go with the Lakers. That’s my prediction: I think he starts next season with the Lakers… If he maintains the stance that he’s not doing Boston [long-term] – and that’s with or without Kyrie [Irving] – I think LA has the best package. We may have to wait and see about New York because if they get the No. 1 overall pick, they could be in the game as well. But I think, at the end of the day, he’ll end up in LA.”

In Barkley’s view, though, the Lakers, who reportedly offered a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks, have no reason to hang their heads about their inability to consummate a deal. “At some point Anthony Davis is going to be with the Lakers,” Barkley predicted. “The fix is in. I actually got a call from Rich Paul. I said, ‘Dude, the fix is in, you know he’s going to the Lakers.’ Once [Davis] signed with Klutch, the fix was in.”

Is this Davis’s fault? The decision to take his trade request public backfired, putting the Pelicans in this position. That Davis took this tact is puzzling. Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers, sources familiar with the situation told The Crossover. But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to LA, coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by Rich Paul, who also represents Davis, had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.


Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps Tuesday morning that Los Angeles had made its best offer that the Pelicans had wanted, but that the Lakers were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, a person said. The Lakers were not going to give the Pelicans the six to eight draft picks they wanted for Davis, the person said, knowing that the four first-round picks and second-round picks were more than the Lakers would offer.

“They wanted more and more and more,” said one person. “There was no more to give. They had cap-relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted the more it because outrageous and unrealistic.” One person said the Pelicans are hopeful that if Davis isn’t traded by the NBA’s Thursday noon (Pacific Time) deadline, that he’ll want to stay and play for the Pelicans going forward. “But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”


Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.
3 months ago via ESPN

This turn of events could be an opening to help spur the Pelicans to find a deal for Davis prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources said. The Knicks don’t have the assets to make a trade for Davis now, and the Lakers and Pelicans have yet to gain traction in talks. This appears to be an effort on the part of Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, to facilitate a deal prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline, and spare a prolonged stay into the offseason for Davis with the franchise.

Marc Stein: “At this point, it’s a one-team race [for Anthony Davis]. If anything is going to happen before the deadline, it’s pretty much Lakers only. If you forced me right now to lodge a prediction, I would still say a trade is unlikely but by virtue of the fact the Lakers are the only ones in the game right now, or at least that’s the impression you get, I guess we gotta give them a chance and maybe New Orleans gets worn down by Thursday with the circus this has become.”

The Knicks’ surprising blockbuster trade of Porzingis to the Mavericks essentially wiped clean New York’s payroll, putting them in prime position to sign two superstars, with Kevin Durant and Irving as the primary targets. Thursday evening’s rumor mill suggested that Davis believes Irving will sign with the Knicks. Don’t put too much stock in that, however. For one thing, front-office sources around the league believe that’s a smokescreen scare tactic as Davis’ agent tries to push him to the Lakers. Uncertainty about what the Celtics might offer works heavily in the Lakers’ favor.
3 months ago via ESPN

Currently, the Pelicans don’t intend to trade Davis to the Lakers, sources told ESPN, and they rejected a Knicks offer of a package centered on Porzingis before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. It seems New Orleans might be content to wait on Boston to be able to make an offer, but that offer wouldn’t have to wait until summer if Irving was moved.
3 months ago via ESPN

Pelicans not returning Lakers' calls on AD trade

As the NBA trade deadline looms within a week, the Lakers’ immediate pursuit of All-Star forward Anthony Davis is fraught with obstacles — including the fact that New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has yet to return a call to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, league sources told ESPN. The sluggish response time is perhaps a message that New Orleans places some responsibility on the Lakers for Davis’ trade request, or perhaps an indication to Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, that the franchise doesn’t plan to easily acquiesce on a trade request to partner with LeBron James.

Adrian Wojnarowski: “Essentially, having Boston in the bidding, who is the team with the most draft picks, several outstanding young players and a really motivated team to try to acquire Anthony Davis it only elevates everyone else’s offers in the trade process and Boston is going to be there. And I think, Boston has sent a message to the Pelicans, ‘Be patient. Wait for us, we are going to be in this and we’re going to be willing to talk about essentially everyone on our roster outside of Kyrie Irving.’ So, I think right now it’s put New Orleans very much in a holding pattern and it’s really dampened the possibility of the [Los Angeles] Lakers being able to do what they’d love to do, is get a deal done prior to the trade deadline. New Orleans has no interest in acquiescing Anthony Davis to the Lakers right now.”
3 months ago via ESPN

The question is whether the Lakers, the team that drafted the 6-foot-9 kid with the 7-foot-3 wingspan out of Duke three years ago, will continue to be good to him or if he will become part of a package to try to pry Davis from New Orleans by the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Lakers coach Luke Walton did not address the situation with the entire team Monday, a team source told ESPN. However, Walton has had several individual conversations about it with his players, much the same way he did with players last season when the specter of landing James became an elephant in the room and eventually led to the cap-clearing trade at the deadline that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to, coincidentally, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chris Haynes first addressed whether he thinks the Lakers might be able to deal for Davis before the NBA trade deadline: “I don’t see that right now. I mean, if you look at (the Pelicans’) statement, they’re still on the league about looking into tampering charges and so there’s bad blood. I was talking with somebody earlier and they brought up Gregg Popovich, how he was not going to trade Kawhi to the Lakers, and I said ‘this is different. It’s a little bit deeper even than that.’

There have been rumblings since early January that Davis would request a trade by the end of the month, but front-office executives I spoke with still find the timing to be curious. One factor is clear, though: By requesting a trade now through his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the window has been pried open for the Lakers to at least have a shot at landing Davis. The longer this drama drags along, the harder it will be for the Lakers, because teams like the Celtics, Knicks, and maybe others will be able to tap into different resources. The Lakers’ brass of Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson will be aggressive in pushing for a deal now, per league sources, knowing that if they wait, they will likely lose Davis.

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April 25, 2019 | 5:37 am EDT Update
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