Tuesday, December 18th. The Los Angeles Lakers, led by superstar LeBron James, looked to bounce back against the red-hot Brooklyn Nets after losing to the struggling Washington Wizards two days prior. But the most exciting aspect of that day for the Lakers was not the final score or LeBron’s stat-line, but rather what happened before the game. LeBron gave his thoughts on how he would feel if the Lakers acquired New Orleans Pelicans 5-time all-star Anthony Davis via trade. After being asked by a reporter for ESPN about his opinion about teaming with Davis, LeBron stated “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
It is no surprise LeBron would answer this way, Anthony Davis is a generational talent any of the NBA’s 30 teams would enjoy. AD is averaging 28 points, roughly 12.9 rebounds, and is a defensive monster, averaging 2.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. He also is leading the league in player efficiency rating, an outstanding 29.6. For reference, these numbers rank Davis 3rd in points, 5th in rebounds, 2nd in blocks, and top 15 in steals. Anthony is arguably the best “big man” in the league and is already an early candidate for the most prestigious award, the MVP. Can you imagine LeBron James, consistently put in conversations with players such as Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the title of Greatest of All Time, and Anthony Davis, a game-changing force that is nearly unstoppable teaming up on a nightly basis?
As it turns out, there is one key person who may not want this: Anthony Davis. Anthony, though he says, LeBron’s comments are “cool to hear,” is focused on turning the Pelicans into a Western Conference contender. Zach Lowe, a well-respected NBA writer for ESPN even gave Davis’ quote, where he went as far as to say “I love my teammates. I love New Orleans. I love the fans. I talk to their slang. I love their food.” Anthony Davis loves the city he represents. He has continuously stated he would love to remain with the Pelicans and lead the team to success.
AD is approaching an unusual situation with his current contract. He will not be considered as a free agent until after the 2019-2020 season. However, this summer, Davis is eligible for a supermax extension, a contract the Pelicans are highly likely to offer that would keep Davis around for another 5 years, for a total cost of $239 million dollars. This is ultimately $70 million dollars than any other team can offer AD, a substantial compensation that would be hard to refuse. If Davis were to turn down the extension, this would basically put New Orleans in a position in where they would have no choice but to explore trade offers for The Brow. The Lakers are not only a trade destination that would benefit AD in his search for a Finals appearance but one with enough assets to acquire him. The Lakers have multiple young studs: Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. They also have numerous drafts picks they gained from previous trades they could send to the Pelicans, accompanied with a combination of two or three of the players as mentioned earlier, that would intrigue New Orleans. Of course, this is all hearsay until July, when it is expected New Orleans will offer Davis the supermax.
Davis is a dominant player in the NBA, a fan-favorite, and is beloved by any Pelicans fan. He has taken a team that just 6 years ago had the number #1 pick in the draft, in which they drafted AD, and led them to a sweep of the 3-seeded Portland Trailblazers. Although LeBron would love for Davis to make his way to Los Angeles, it seems as if he loves the other LA just a little too much.
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