Storyline: Anthony Davis to Lakers

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Anthony Davis officially a Laker

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“Anthony’s impact upon the Pelicans’ franchise and our region over the past seven seasons has been profound,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “We are mindful and appreciative of his contributions. We are similarly appreciative of the opportunity we have as we move into the next phase of Pelicans basketball. The tremendous additions to our family that we announce here today represent the selflessness, competitive desire, and off-court character we intend build around.”

Ohm Youngmisuk: The talented LA artist/muralist Gustavo Zermeno Jr. wasted no time in getting up the latest Lakers’ superstar street mural of Anthony Davis. Zermeno has produced Lakers murals of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and many others.

Because of salary cap rules, if the trade is consummated in late July, the Lakers would have the space to add another maximum contract. That cap space could be used on players like Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, all-star point guards who will be free agents. That scenario would require the Lakers to draft the fourth overall pick for the Pelicans, or whatever team has its rights by the time of the draft, then sign that player as quickly as possible. League rules do not allow a signed draft pick to be traded for 30 days, which would make July 20 the earliest date the trade could be consummated.
8 months ago via ESPN

Calling those discussions in February “negotiations” is a bit of a stretch. The Pelicans were never serious about dealing with the Lakers then. They didn’t like being forced into this position by Davis and his representative, Rich Paul. And they probably weren’t going to let former general manager Dell Demps make this big of a decision anyway. So the Lakers — really just Johnson, because Demps wouldn’t talk to Pelinka — would call and Demps would write names on the board without giving them any feedback. Those names would leak publicly and do damage to the Lakers’ team chemistry.

The Post reported last week the Pelicans didn’t view the Knicks’ young assets as especially attractive in comparison to other Davis suitors, feeling they needed a third team more than any other squad involved. According to an NBA source, the Knicks “weren’t close” to having a major package to entice New Orleans on a deal. The Lakers didn’t need a third team to land Davis and unite him with James, but they have, as one NBA executive put it, “mortgaged their future for a very small window with LeBron.’’

Some thought that the final iteration of the Lakers-Pelicans deal would be a three-team deal, involving New Orleans potentially forwarding along No. 4 to another team, or the Lakers spearheading things and forwarding it along to another team prior to the trade itself for a player the Pelicans valued more than the pick. Indeed, sources indicated that the Pelicans are said to have had communications with teams prior to this deal in order to gauge value on what the pick could be worth. The Pelicans think that with the pieces acquired here, in addition to Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday’s presence, they could be in the mix for a playoff spot this year despite dealing Davis for what is ostensibly a futures-based package. If they can make a move that allows them to remain flexible into the future while also getting someone that fits their longer term timeline, that would be attractive to them.

Sometimes a bettor’s timing seems too good. The Westgate in Las Vegas took a $10,000 bet on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the 2020 NBA title at 5-1 odds. Twenty seven minutes later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the New Orleans Pelicans had traded Anthony Davis to the LA Lakers to join LeBron James. “I’m sure it was with knowledge, but that’s why we have liability limits in place,” said Jeff Sherman, manager at the Westgate. The liability limit for futures was set at $50,000.

8 months ago via ESPN

The Pelicans will now have two of the top four picks in Thursday’s NBA draft — No. 1 and No. 4. New Orleans will select Zion Williamson at No. 1 and now has the flexibility to select a player at No. 4 — or trade it at auction in the next several days. New Orleans has had significant interest in talks with teams in recent days on the fourth pick, and those talks are expected to continue over the next several days, sources said. Teams are pursuing point guards Darius Garland and Coby White high in the lottery, which gives New Orleans a chance for an even bigger haul from the deal.

ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Brian Windhorst on Thursday’s episode of The Jump if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was using the Lakers’ offer as leverage to gain more assets from the Celtics, and Windhorst said he believed that to be the case: “I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers. But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They’ve preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers’ offers haven’t changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don’t really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would’ve already made the Lakers deal.”

The Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick in the draft, have been motivated to pursue Davis sooner rather than later. The Lakers still have their young core of players intact, such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and the No. 4 pick. There is intrigue to see how the Lakers handle these trade talks, after providing less-than-appealing offers to the Pelicans during the trade deadline in February. For the Knicks, securing Davis would be a step to try to begin attracting talent around Davis with a significant upcoming free-agent crop in Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.

Pelicans high on Brandon Ingram?

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, a lot of people inside of New Orleans’ organization wouldn’t have to reconsider anything. They were high on the Lakers’ offer from the start. Speaking on The Sedano Show, here’s what’s McMenamin had to say: I spoke to several people within the Pelicans’ organization in the past several months that have a really high opinion of Brandon Ingram, and beyond just Brandon Ingram, have a really high opinion of the trade package that was on the table that was ultimately rejected.

The Los Angeles Lakers seemed like they might have the inside track on acquiring Davis after the two teams’ reported trade discussions earlier this season. However, the Pelicans came away from that debacle unhappy with how business was done. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on “The Russillo Show” podcast that he thinks the Pelicans are still ticked about that and won’t make a deal with the Lakers, especially after New Orleans landed the No. 1 pick. “I don’t think the Pelicans want to make a deal with the Lakers — when I say I don’t think, I know that’s how they feel,” Windhorst told Ryen Russillo. “Had the Lakers won the lottery and had Zion and had an opportunity to offer something like that, it would have been so overwhelming that I think it might have removed that impediment. There’s a lot of animosity and scar tissue built up between these two organizations. I feel very strongly that New Orleans does not want to make a deal with LA.”

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!”

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.
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January 27, 2020 | 2:27 pm UTC Update
Lamar Odom: These picture are just the tip of the iceberg of our relationship. He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court. On the court he taught me how to carve out defenses and how to take my time. How to make winning my ultimate goal. Off the court he taught me to sign my own checks lol. Of course anyone who knows my story knows I’ve suffered a lot of loss but the only loss I can compare this to is when I lost my son. Even though our relationship wasn’t father/son, it was more like him being a teacher and me being his brother.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Lamar Odom: I’m glad I got to be the ying to your yang as far as the locker room was concerned. It was my pleasure. I couldn’t even catch my breath today when I heard this news. I just knew if he was in a helicopter crash he would have been the one to survive. Somehow he would have jumped out and landed on his feet. I’m sitting here thinking about when we would be in practice scrimmaging and you would start the jump ball off with elbowing Sasha in the chest. Like dude it’s 10:30 in the morning lol. You think watching him play was crazy, you gotta think in practice if you scored like 8-9 buckets throughout the practice you had a great practice. I’ve seen him knock off 13-14 in a row in practice!!!! I’m still waiting for the media to come out and say wrong report. No way God took my brother this early. I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself. When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened. In honor of my brother I’m up at 4am tomorrow to get to the gym! Gigi gone give you buckets!!!! I love you brother 💔🙏🏿😥 @kobebryant
January 27, 2020 | 12:54 pm UTC Update
Lamb was among the players visibly shaken by the news because he became a father to a baby girl just months ago. When Lamb read where both Bryant and one of his daughters had tragically passed away, he immediately thought of his own. “It hit me harder just seeing how much she loved him and how much their relationship had grown since he retired and he was spending a lot of time with her and putting his all into being a father,” he said. “Just like he did the game. He put his all into the game and his craft. You see a whole bunch of videos on Instagram of how he’s helping players now. He put his all into everything.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Me, I’ll remember his humanity. (And I know, that part of Kobe’s story is as complicated as the rest of him.) NBA stars live their lives in a swirling fishbowl, their every triumph and misstep filmed, framed and cataloged. For a Lakers star, that goes 100-fold. Fame warps everything. I saw Kobe struggle with it all at times. Saw him alienate teammates, push away relatives, turn surly and insulated. That was the Kobe Bryant who emerged in the mid-2000s—jaws clenched, chin out, domineering, merciless, the Mamba.
January 27, 2020 | 10:19 am UTC Update
Eyal Smener was on the phone in his living room when he heard a loud whirring sound. He thought it might be a helicopter flying much lower than usual up in the hills behind his home in Calabasas, but he did not hang up the phone to investigate. The noise he heard next is one he will not soon forget. “It was this weird, loud grinding sound,” he said. “And then nothing. Just nothing.” He didn’t think much about it until his wife told him an hour later there had been a terrible helicopter crash involving Kobe Bryant. Then he knew he had heard the final seconds of Bryant and the other souls lost aboard a helicopter that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters had claimed the lives of nine people on Sunday morning.

Danny Green: This is so crazy, We just seen you! Been sitting here thinking of what to say…and there are absolutely no words that can truly describe what you meant to me, my friends and family, and the basketball world/culture that we live in today. We’ve had many so many battles on the court and so many brief interactions off the court but extremely meaningful to me and I’ll never forget them. You were an icon and an idol to us all! You were a God! and your legacy will forever live on. This season will be dedicated to you and the others we’ve lost today. prayers and condolences go out to the Bryant family and the other families that were on board.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
That, more or less, was the extent of the conversation. For a reporter, Bryant could be either a great jousting partner or an intimidating foe. Tee him up on the right topic — in a variety of languages — and there was no better interview in the NBA. But he did not suffer fools. He would bat down questions as lazy or ill-considered, even if it was just a thin veneer as he diverted from a topic he wanted to avoid. I last saw him employ the tactic 11 days before he died while announcing a partnership between Major League Soccer and BodyArmor, the sports drink company in which he was an early investor. A reporter asked him whether he supported LAFC or the L.A. Galaxy. “Ask a better question,” he said.
In our short conversations that day, we talked about Gianna and her love of basketball. We joked about how much more hectic our lives had gotten with the addition of more kids. His youngest daughter, Capri, was born last June, one month after my second son. When I chastised him for not coming around Lakers games more often, he said, “I’ve been busy chasing these four kids around.”
Storyline: Gianna Bryant Death
When I was 17 years old, I had the opportunity to interview Bryant in Orlando during an After-School All-Stars charity event (after emailing his publicist more times than I’m proud to admit). He accepted a key to the city of Orlando and spoke with hundreds of children about the importance of academic success and chasing their dreams. I’d only ever seen Bryant on television, so the thought of meeting him and talking to him one-on-one was incredibly nerve-wracking. However, when Bryant arrived, he was extraordinarily friendly and gracious. He gave thoughtful answers and was so kind, even though I was just a teenager and there were a million more important things he could’ve done with his time. Whoever said “never meet your heroes” clearly wasn’t talking about Kobe. It was sweet watching this on-court assassin interact with young children too. They went nuts when he emerged from the Amway Arena tunnel and after joking with them for a bit, he spoke about the importance of education and chasing your dreams. The kids were captivated, hanging on his every word. After the event, he told me that he felt blessed to be in a position where he could have such a significant impact on the youth.
During Kobe’s playing days, I loved to ask rookies about their first match-up against Bryant. They often talked about how intimidating he was, and how he was just as unstoppable as they’d imagined. For many players, sharing the court with Kobe was their welcome-to-the-NBA moment and something they’ll never forget. Many players would talk about how he could beat you in so many different ways. “His counter-moves have counter-moves,” Courtney Lee once told me. That’s because he spent countless hours in the gym, perfecting his craft. Kobe’s insane work ethic, tenacity and desire to be great are a huge part of his legacy.
January 27, 2020 | 6:53 am UTC Update
Nine people died in the helicopter crash on Sunday that claimed the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Though the Bryants lead the headlines due to their fame, we want to make sure we also recognize the other victims who died. In addition to Kobe and Gianna, junior college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa died in the crash. We have since learned that another victim was Christina Mauser, who was a girls’ basketball coach. Mauser’s husband Matt shared the sad news of Christina’s death on Facebook Sunday.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Saturday was the final time Young spoke to Kobe and Gianna. A source told The Athletic prior to the Hawks’ game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday night that Kobe and Gianna FaceTimed with Young on Saturday to congratulate him for being named a starter in the All-Star Game. Young didn’t want to divulge all of the details of their conversation but did confirm that he spoke with the father-daughter duo the day before they tragically died, alongside seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“One of the last conversations we had, man, he was just telling me how he’s seen my game progress,” Young said before he paused for eight seconds as he choked up. “He was just happy for me. He was saying how proud he was of me and how he wants to continue seeing me be a role model for kids growing up and just for Gigi and all of the kids looking up to me and continue to inspire these kids and continue to play my heart out. That was one of the last things he said to me.”
Gianna told Young how much she loved watching him play and how big of a fan she was of the Hawks’ point guard. Young told her he made it a point to watch her highlights on YouTube and Twitter. She admired Young so much that she wanted to train how he trains. It didn’t matter that her father was one of the best basketball players of all time; she wanted to be like Young. So, Gianna started training with Alex Bazzell, Young’s trainer during the offseason, in addition to her lessons from dad. Young went to one of Bryant’s camps while he was in high school. But Young’s relationship with Kobe only started blossoming in the past two years as Gianna started idolizing Young.
Storyline: Gianna Bryant Death
January 27, 2020 | 6:27 am UTC Update
Gordon also spent time with Bryant. In late August, Gordon was among a group of rising young players and superstars whom Bryant invited to a two-day minicamp. “This past summer, it really felt like he was starting to develop a mentorship with me,” Gordon said. “It was a beautiful thing just to get to experience some of the things that he was teaching us about the game of basketball and about the game of life. He’s a very unique individual, a very fierce competitor.”
Derek Jeter: ll I ever needed to know about Kobe Bryant was this: that throughout our friendship, the most meaningful conversations we had — they were always about family. Put aside one of the all-time great basketball careers for a second. Put aside his famous work ethic, the Mamba mentality, that incredible will to win. I’ll let everyone else tackle that. But when I think of Kobe, I really just end up thinking about those special few personal conversations that we were lucky enough to share together, each time one of us had a new baby daughter. I end up thinking about how, here was this guy who was beyond gifted as an athlete, who was obsessed with being a champion, who was known as an absolute assassin with a ball in his hands. And in the moments I got to spend with him? He didn’t really talk about any of that. He cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls. He loved his family — he was his family. That’s what was important.
As Gigi grew into a young teenager, her love for basketball transcended watching her dad. She began playing competitive ball year-round, with her father helping to coach her team. During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel’s television show recently, Kobe said of Gigi that she “for sure” wanted to play in the WNBA someday. “The best thing that happens is when we go out and she’ll be standing next to me and fans will come up to me like ‘Hey, you gotta have a boy, you and (Vanessa) gotta have a boy — somebody to carry on the legacy and the tradition’ and (Gigi) will be like ‘Oy, I got this. We don’t need a boy for that. I got this!’”
Storyline: Gianna Bryant Death
January 27, 2020 | 5:40 am UTC Update
John Altobelli, 56, who guided the Pirates to four California community college state championships and racked up more than 700 victories in 27 seasons at Orange Coast, was among the nine victims in the helicopter crash that killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Tony Altobelli, John’s younger brother and the school’s sports information director, confirmed that John Altobelli’s wife, Keri , and daughter, Alyssa, who played on the Newport Beach-based club basketball team with Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, were also killed in the crash.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
When I heard the news, I thought immediately of Michael Jordan, who Bryant told me on several occasions was the player he aspired to be. Certainly, Bryant came closer than anyone else to matching the talent, the intensity — and the aura — of His Airness. I reached out to Jordan via text, knowing the news would be overwhelming and deeply personal. “I’m devastated!!!!” Jordan wrote me. “Too emotional to respond. I can’t find the words to make sentences!!!!
Kyle Kuzma: Damn I’ve been messed up all day…….I grew up trying to be like you. I would watch YouTube highlights as a kid trying to mimic you (and I still do) I would go to the gym as a kid and shoot fade-aways for hours acting as if every shot I took was at the buzzer just like you. Then 3 years ago I became a laker. You became family & a mentor to me. As a young kid I would of done anything in the world to meet you and as a rookie I had my opportunity. A dinner. A dinner with my idol Kobe Bryant. Talking about basketball, life and business with you at that moment changed my life forever man. I’m teared up just trying to write this but Kobe thank you for being a brother to me. Anything I ever needed from you, was just a call away. Thank you for all the knowledge. Thank you for just being a friend. Your inner drive is something that will never be match. Heroes come and go but you my guy will truly last forever. OUT.