Lakers Win Key To Anthony Davis!
How the Los Angeles Lakers winning the #4 pick in next month’s NBA Draft could unlock the door to acquiring Anthony Davis
Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than smart. After a season of debilitating injuries and a summer of self-inflicted blunders, the Basketball Gods have rewarded the Lakers with the key piece they needed to land Anthony Davis.
Winning the #4 pick in the NBA Draft was the mercurial boost the Lakers’ hopes and aspirations for this summer desperately needed. The Laker haters and doomsayers will try to tell you that winning the #1 pick and the chance to draft Zion Williamson will convince Anthony Davis to retract his trade request, that the Knicks with the #3 pick can offer a better package, or that the Celtics will risk Tatum and Brown just to rent Davis but don’t believe it.
The truth is Rich Paul and Klutch Sports and the Los Angeles Lakers have the winning hand in this game and can either force the Pelicans to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers this summer or just sign him as a free agent next summer. As long as Anthony Davis holds firm that he won’t re-sign with the Pelicans or any team to whom he’s traded except the Lakers or Knicks, all the Lakers have to do is submit the best offer and keep the cap space to sign him next summer.
The only other thing that could derail the Lakers’ plans would be if Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, or Kemba Walker unexpectedly decided they wanted to join LeBron James in purple and gold, something that appears right now to be unlikely according to the pundits. Should that happen, the Lakers would undoubtedly choose to take the bird in hand rather than gambling and saving cap space to sign Davis next summer.
But make no mistake, the player the Lakers really want who’ll be the perfect Batman to LeBron James’ Superman is Anthony Davis. He’s the answer to the Lakers’ hopes and prayers. He’s the superstar who wants to play with LeBron. Call it destiny or fate or the will of the Basketball Gods but everything that’s happening is happening for a reason: the Lakers winning the #4 pick, the Pelicans landing the #1 pick, the Celtics and Kyrie and Tatum regressing.
Forget the foolish talk in social media that the Pelicans might refuse to trade with the Lakers out of pure spite or because all their owner cares about is their NFL team. You can chalk all that up as haters’ ridiculous speculation. David Griffin, New Orleans’ new Vice President of Basketball Operations, is a savvy front office exec who’s been given the authority to make the decisions and isn’t going to turn down the best offer just because it’s from the Lakers.
What will constitute the best offer? The Lakers will essentially offer the Pelicans everybody on their roster except for LeBron James and Lonzo Ball, whom the Pelicans probably don’t want because of the baggage of his father. A package of Brandon Ingram, whom Griffin has always been very high on, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Moritz Wager, Isaac Bonga, and the #4 draft pick should be a big enough haul to convince Griffin and the Pelicans to accept.
That will totally trump the best possible offer from the Knicks of Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith, Jr., Mitchell Robinson, the #3 pick in the draft, and a couple of future round picks. If needed, the Lakers could easily include one or two more future first round picks or even add the Bulls #7 pick, which they could likely acquire by trading Lonzo Ball for Kris Dunn. Bottom line, there’s no way the Knicks have the trade assets to get close to matching the Lakers’ offer.
After trading for Anthony Davis, the Lakers will probably not have enough cap space to pursue signing a third superstar in free agency this summer. They know that’s probably not feasible and surely not in their best interests. They know they need a real team and not just three superstars. You can’t win a championship in today’s NBA with just superstars. You need a deep and talented roster of capable role players who complement your superstars.
The Lakers understand this and will thus plan to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the team oriented complementary players who are critical to legitimately competing for a championship rather than chasing a third superstar. With $25 to $30 million in cap space, the Lakers will focus on signing players who can shoot from deep and/or defend like Brook Lopez, Danny Green, Terry Rozier, Pat Beverley, J.J. Redick, or Marcus Morris
There are also several free agents from last year’s team that the Lakers will consider re-signing, including JaVale McGee, Alex Caruso, Reggie Bullock, Jemerrio Jones, and Mike Muscala. As we’ve seen from the Warriors, Rockets, Blazers, Nuggets, and other teams in this year’s playoffs, a deep and talented roster that can shoot and defend is critical to winning games. Building full teams has become the formula for winning championships in today’s game.
Ideally, a trade between the Lakers and Pelicans for Anthony Davis would be consummated before the June 20th NBA Draft so the Pelicans would be able to make the decision as to whom to draft with the #4 pick. Despite Davis advising that he still wants to be traded, David Griffin has been hinting he might prefer to wait as long as possible, maybe even to the midseason trade deadline, in hopes of somehow convincing AD to re-sign with the Pelicans.
Unless AD wavers this summer, that would be a huge gamble the Pelicans would be foolish to take as the offers they’d likely receive would drop greatly as teams would realize they were only renting Davis for only half a season. Bottom line, if Davis holds firm in his demand for a trade, the Pelicans will have no choice but to finalize a trade this summer. Griffin knows this and when push comes to shove, he will make the smart decision for his franchise.
It’s been a rough and tough summer for the Lakers, much of it do to their own ineptness and dysfunction. Hopefully, the lucky bounce of the ping pong balls has given them the boost they need to unlock a trade for Anthony Davis.