If you haven’t been following the Anthony Davis saga that has occurred over the last month or so here’s what you need to know:
- Anthony Davis currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans (NOLA)
- He is 25 and already considered a superstar in the NBA
- He fired his agent midway through September 2018 and hired Rich Paul, Lebron James’s agent
- At the end of January 2019, two weeks before the trade deadline, he told the Pelicans that he would not sign an extension with them and requested a trade
- It was reported that Davis wanted to play for the Lakers and would not resign with any other team that traded for him
- Due to the timing, the only team that actually had the assets to trade for him were the Lakers and the Lakers made multiple offers
- After telling the Pelicans he wanted to be traded, he stated that he doesn’t care about money and just wants to win (NOLA can offer a 5 year, $239.5M contract while other teams can only offer a 4 year, $152M contract)
- The Pelicans urged the NBA to investigate the Lakers for tampering due to the Rich Paul connection along with the fact that Lebron publicly stated that he wants to play alongside Davis
- The NBA fines Davis for publicly requesting a trade, but does not fine the Lakers or Lebron for tampering
- The trade between the Lakers and Pelicans falls through and Davis isn’t moved before the deadline so he will remain in New Orleans
- Davis actually isn’t a free agent until the summer of 2020
Doesn’t care about money. Just wants to win. And yet, he wants to join the Lakers? Seriously?
Despite having a supposedly good young core along with Lebron freaking James, they are 11th in the west and 2 games under .500 as February 25, 2019. While yes, that can partially be attributed to injuries as Lebron missed 17 games this season due to a groin injury and Lonzo will likely have season ending surgery, the team’s problems go beyond just this.
During the offseason, the Lakers made a series of questionable decisions such as signing the likes of Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee to one year deals while releasing an up and coming star in Julius Randle. While it’s good to have a handful of veterans on any team, in the context of what the Lakers were trying to accomplish, it didn’t really make sense.
Not only was there a clear divide between the Lakers young core and the veterans, as they would all be competing for touches and minutes, but the play style and identity of the team just never made sense. Yes, you have three elite playmakers in Lebron, Rondo, and Ball, but that doesn’t mean anything when you can’t space the goddamn floor. Without any real threats from beyond the arc, opposing teams are free to clog the passing lanes and pack the paint. Since nobody can shoot, kicking the ball out isn’t really much of an option. While yes, the Lakers have realized the error in their way and have signed some shooters in Mike Muscala, although they had to give up arguably one of their best players in Zubac, and Reggie Bullock to alleviate some of their weaknesses, the team still doesn’t play coherently, especially on the defensive end. On top of that, they traded one of their while Kuzma and Ingram have also stepped up in terms of shooting, they are still incredibly inconsistent.
With that being said, and the fact that Davis still has a year left on his contract, he will likely have to wait until free agency to sign with the Lakers. In that sense, the Pelicans don’t have to honor his request (although this would not be in their best interest), nor do they have to send Davis where he wants to go. Additionally, looking at the current iteration of Lakers’s roster, he doesn’t necessarily fit well with them.
By the time Davis gets a chance to sign with the Lakers, Lebron would already be 36 years old and likely on the twilight years of his career while he’d be nearing his prime at 26/27.
And given that most of the young guys haven’t shown any sort of fight or sense of urgency recently, if Davis truly wants to win why would he risk playing for this mess of a Lakers organization in his prime? How much different are they from the Pelicans who failed to build around him (although this can be heavily attributed to injuries)? Not much as shown by their failed attempts to not only build around Lebron during the 2018 offseason, but lure in another star to play alongside him. Factor in that Lebron will have two more years left on his contract in 2020, and the fact that the young guys will be looking to get paid, finances and personnel won’t be as simple as it may seem.
Sure, two years is a lot of time and the Lakers may be able to completely revamp a good portion of their roster since they have a number of one year deals on the books, but it also doesn’t look like players are dying to join the Lakers. In fact, since the offseason, the only individuals they’ve been able to acquire, despite interest that never materialized into anything from a handful of players, are Muscala and Bullock, neither of which came of their own volition.
At this current point in time, because of everything going on with the Lakers along with the overall fit just not being there, he’d be better off teaming up with the likes of Giannis in Milwaukee, Kyrie in Boston (assuming he stays), or coordinating with other marquee free agents to form a team elsewhere.