Days before the February NBA trade deadline, Anthony Davis informed the New Orleans Pelicans through agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports that he has no intention of signing the contract extension that they are planning to offer and wanted to be traded to a team where he can consistently win and contend for the NBA championship title. Several NBA teams have expressed interest in acquiring Davis, including the Los Angeles Lakers where Paul’s biggest client and close pal, LeBron James, currently plays.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, there’s a growing belief around the league that LeBron James had a hand in the ongoing Anthony Davis saga.
“Fair or not, James is closely associated with his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. The impression around the league is that the duo has more of a partnership than the typical player/agent relationship. It was Paul who publicly demanded a trade on behalf of Davis, pushing the Pelicans to send him to the Lakers before the deadline—but in a sense, it was also James.”
No one can blame some people for thinking that LeBron James influenced Anthony Davis’ decision to demand a trade. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka revealed their plan to acquire another superstar to pair with James. When Davis expressed his desire to leave New Orleans, the Lakers became very aggressive in getting a done deal with the Pelicans and offered their entire young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac.
Anthony Davis on facing Jayson Tatum before Tatum had even played a college game: “When we left, I knew he was NBA ready. He did amazing things out there. He was going at us.” https://t.co/L3NEwDqYUd— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 25, 2019
Unfortunately, the Lakers still failed to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline as the Pelicans decided to wait for the summer of 2019 to make a deal so teams like the Boston Celtics could join the bidding. One league executive who spoke with Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that LeBron James shouldn’t have publicly stated his desire to team up with Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, accusing him of killing the Lakers’ chemistry.
“He killed the [Lakers’] chemistry,” one NBA executive said. “He shouldn’t have been so public about it. Even during the All-Star draft, he laughed about [wanting Davis to be his teammate].”
The unsuccessful acquisition of Anthony Davis undeniably has a huge effect on the Lakers’ performance in the 2018-19 NBA season. As of now, the Lakers are in the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference with a 29-30 record. If they won’t improve their performance on both ends of the floor, the Lakers could miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.