While the Los Angeles Lakers historically have been a franchise that’s benefitted from stars wishing to join it, there were turbulent times in 2007 when Kobe Bryant requested to be traded away.
Bryant had grown frustrated with the team and direction of the team in the era after he and Shaquille O’Neal were separated, and later revealed the Chicago Bulls were his preferred destination. Late owner Jerry Buss convinced Bryant into remaining with the Lakers, and the rest is history.
Although the team went through a period where stars were reluctant to join, LeBron James signing a four-year contract in free agency last summer changed perceptions. Now, the Lakers are attempting to capitalize on Anthony Davis’ interest.
The six-time All-Star requesting a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans was hardly a surprise, but doing so with more than one year from possibly reaching free agency did raise some eyebrows.
Nevertheless, Bryant explained in an interview with Rachel Nicholds on “The Jump” why he firmly supports Davis and other players who attempt to control their future, via ESPN:
“He’s got a right to do what the hell he wants to do. I mean, listen, teams have the right to trade players. Players should have the freedom to be able to say and voice their opinion. Now, you can agree with it, you can disagree with it. But A.D. still has a right to say what he wants to say.”
Although Davis has a certain affinity for the Lakers, in reality that may be hurting the likelihood of a trade. After meeting apparent demands of the Pelicans, the Lakers are now being asked for upwards of four draft picks in a possible deal.
That’s in addition to trading Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, as well as a combination of veterans (Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson). Furthermore, the Lakers are expected to provide salary cap relief by taking on Solomon Hill.
Though Bryant and Davis may be of the same thought process, it could be a year before they can share a commonality in the Lakers.
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