Although the expectation was different, the signing of LeBron James did not lead to the Los Angeles Lakers young core being broken up in favor of acquiring a second All-Star. Though, the team aggressively moved to do so months later.
Upon Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, informing the New Orleans Pelicans a super max contract extension would not be signed this summer and a trade was preferred, the Lakers began to pursue the six-time All-Star.
The interest was believed to be mutual, which didn’t surprise many, considering Davis’ ties to James through Klutch Sports. However, despite earnest efforts by the Lakers, the Pelicans didn’t take serious action on trade talks even as their exorbitant demands were met.
From the Lakers’ perspective, it included offering multiple first-round draft picks, Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac.
While a steep price, Kobe Bryant expressed an understanding of the Lakers’ attempts to trade for Davis even at a high cost, as translated from Spanish outlet AS.com:
“Kuzma, Lonzo, Ingram … Are all three better than Anthony Davis? No no! Ciao! Bye! Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not from now, from history. What are we talking about? If you can sign Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, agree. We have three players who are very young and who work hard. They are intelligent and must be developed. But if you can sign Anthony Davis … yes!”
Although some may be quick to criticize Bryant for his remarks, his pragmatic view is hardly a surprise. While the Lakers young core has shown promise, the team’s window is in the present, and Davis better fits that.
Some believe the Lakers and Pelicans will revisit trade talks this offseason, but the Boston Celtics will likely become involved, and in theory could trump L.A.’s offer because of a treasure chest of draft picks.