New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis will be one of the hottest commodities on the trade market in the 2019 NBA offseason. Despite failing to secure a deal before the February NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers are still widely expected to resume their pursuit of Davis next summer. Since Davis hired Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group as his new representative, rumors are circulating that Lakers superstar LeBron James is working behind the scenes to bring the All-Star center to Los Angeles.
In his recent article, Bill Oram of The Athletic revealed that there’s a growing belief around the Lakers’ organization that James is one of the people who’s urging the team to send their young core to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The successful acquisition of Davis will not only boost the Lakers’ chance of contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season, but it could also help head coach Luke Walton keep his job in Los Angeles. As Oram noted, his “backchannel information” confirmed that Davis “liked” Walton as head coach.
“Sources around the team said it was apparent that the young players no longer trusted [LeBron] James, believing he was operating behind the scenes to get them traded to New Orleans.,” Oram wrote, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. “At one point, some in Walton’s circles feared [Rich] Paul was trying to use the Davis situation to leverage a coaching change, with the premise being that his arrival would require a higher-caliber coach. But the Lakers received backchannel information that Davis liked Walton and that relieved pressure on the third-year head coach.”
Anthony Davis said he doesn’t regret asking for a trade from the Pelicans, but acknowledges there is still a possibility he could start next season in New Orleans. (via @NickFriedell)https://t.co/2a8vUM1ecu
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 10, 2019
It’s definitely a nice thing to hear for Luke Walton that their top trade target, Anthony Davis, liked him, especially now that numerous rumors are suggesting that the Lakers will fire him when the 2018-19 NBA season is officially over. If the Lakers are able to successfully acquire Davis next summer, there could be a strong chance that Walton will still be the team’s head coach in the 2019-20 NBA season. Aside from Davis, Lakers superstar LeBron James also gave some support to Walton.
Despite suffering a huge disappointment in his first year wearing the Purple and Gold, LeBron James still commended Walton in an interview with Allie Clifton of Spectrum Sportsnet, saying that the 39-year-old mentor “played the hand as well as he could” given the circumstances he has dealt this season. While it could be said that Walton has some flaws with his coaching, it’s also may be unfair for him to take all the blame for the Lakers’ struggles this season.
When all his top players were healthy, Luke Walton managed to help the Lakers reach as high as the No. 4 seed in the deep Western Conference. It will be interesting to see what are the things Walton and the Lakers can accomplish if and when Anthony Davis starts playing alongside LeBron James next season.