Anthony Davis to Lakers Guaranteed!
How LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Rich Paul, and Anthony Davis are taking player power and superteam building to the next level
While nothing’s a sure thing when it comes to trades, Rich Paul has done his job as Anthony Davis’ agent by creating the best possible environment to get his client Anthony Davis to the team he wants to join, the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers are going all in on acquiring Anthony Davis, even if it costs them the opportunity to sign Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Klay Thompson this summer. Bottom line, the pursuit of AD trumps even the ‘sacred’ cap space. Call it collusion or tampering or whatever, this deal has LeBron’s fingerprints all over it. What better way to optimize LeBron James’ brand as a Laker than to recruit Anthony Davis to be his co-star? It’s the ultimate marketing coup.
What all the small market crybabies and Laker haters in the media forget is today’s NBA is a players’ league. The truth is there’s really no way to prevent the Lakers from acquiring Anthony Davis if he and the Lakers are committed to making it happen. All the talk about other NBA teams making a better offer disappears once AD says he will only re-sign with the Lakers. This is Rich Paul and LeBron running the show, not an angry and disgruntled Aaron Mintz.
Forget about what happened with Paul George or Kawhi Leonard because there’s a clear path that essentially ‘guarantees’ Anthony Davis will become a Los Angeles Laker either via a trade now or in the future or via free agency. That path includes possible trades for Davis before this season’s February 7 trade deadline, during this summer or before next season’s trade deadline, or via a free agency a year and a half from now during the summer of 2020.
The Lakers’ goal is to give the Pelicans a reason to trade Anthony Davis right now rather than waiting this summer. This means they need to make the Pelicans an offer better than they could get this summer. The Lakers goal isn’t to steal Davis from the Pelicans but to make them an offer they can’t refuse, an offer that’ll give them the valuable young pieces and picks needed to jump start a quality rebuilding effort, an offer that’s a win-win for both franchises.
The poison pill that insures the Lakers’ offer will be the best the Pelicans are going to get consists of two interrelated factors: Anthony Davis’ commitment to only re-sign with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent summer 2020 and the Lakers commitment to retain cap space to offer him a max contract. The Lakers willingness to sacrifice the cap space needed to sign KD, Kawhi, or Klay next summer clearly demonstrates that landing AD is their top priority.
The Lakers need to make it clear to the Pelicans that their offer will not be available this summer. If the Pelicans decide to wait to trade AD until this summer, the Lakers will simply wait until the following summer to sign AD as a free agent without having to give up pieces or picks, a move that will limit Davis’ trade value to a 1-year rental and leave the Pelicans holding the bag this summer, unable to get anything for AD close to what the Lakers offered.
Should the Pelicans opt not to trade Davis to the Lakers or to trade him to another team, the Lakers still would be in the driver’s seat with good leverage provided they retain the cap space to sign AD as a free agent summer 2020. With AD’s trade value diminished and the Celtics unwilling to give up much to ‘rent’ AD, the Pelicans could be forced to trade Davis to the Lakers this summer for less than what they could have gotten by trading him right now.
While the Lakers obviously want to consummate the trade for Anthony Davis right now, waiting until this summer to trade for AD could benefit the Lakers since they could possibly give up less in a trade for Davis while still retaining enough cap space to sign a max contract free agent like KD, Kawhi, or Klay. The key is making the Pelicans an offer that is acceptable and clearly greater than what they could expect if they waited to trade him until next summer.
While getting the best possible return is the Pelicans goal, there are also good reasons for them to trade Anthony Davis now and get on with rebuilding the franchise. Keeping AD the rest of the year is not going to get them a better price and they would have to shut down Davis to prevent a major injury. Better to put Anthony Davis behind them and move on with their rebuilding. They’re going to get some exciting young talent who fit coach Gentry’s style.
LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Rich Paul, and Anthony Davis are taking player power and superteam building to the next level and they have the New Orleans Pelicans right where they want them. AD to the Lakers guaranteed!