One week has passed since the NBA’s 2018-19 trade deadline, and the earliest the Los Angeles Lakers could again attempt to trade for the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis would be this summer. In the wake of this failed trade attempt, both the Lakers and the Pelicans have been reeling, with both teams struggling to make headway in a competitive Western Conference playoff race. However, a new report suggests there might have been a chance the Pelicans would have at least been more willing to deal with the Lakers, provided the negotiations were conducted with less fanfare.
In a report published Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix wrote that Davis’ decision to make his trade request public was a “puzzling” move for the 25-year-old superstar, considering how he and the Pelicans quickly became the center of countless trade rumors in between the request and the NBA trade deadline.
“Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers,” Mannix wrote, citing sources familiar with the matter.
“But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to L.A., coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by [Davis’ agent Rich Paul], had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans’ resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.”
As reported last week by the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner, the Lakers were willing to part ways with young core players Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac and veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as well as two first-round draft picks. In addition, the team was willing to absorb Pelicans reserve wingman Solomon Hill’s expiring contract, which is valued at $12.7 million. However, the Lakers ultimately withdrew their offer for Anthony Davis after the Pelicans reportedly demanded six to eight future draft picks.
At the time of this writing, the Los Angeles Lakers are 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-29 record, having recently dropped below the .500 mark despite James’ return from a groin injury that kept him out for over a month. The New Orleans Pelicans are at 13th with a 25-33 record, and while Davis has likewise returned after missing some time due to injuries, he has been kept on a minutes restriction and was held down to just three points on 1-for-9 field goal shooting in the Pelicans’ 118-88 loss to the Orlando Magic (26-32) on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Lakers could still have a chance at landing Anthony Davis this summer, though as Sports Illustrated noted in a separate article, Los Angeles will have to contend with the Boston Celtics, as well as any number of “potential mystery teams” hoping to acquire the All-NBA big man.