Recently, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves eliminated from playoff contention for a sixth straight year, finishing the 2018-19 regular season with a 37-45 record despite four-time MVP LeBron James’ arrival. In addition to the disappointment of missing the postseason, the Lakers dealt with multiple organizational changes, as team president Magic Johnson resigned from his post last week, while Luke Walton was out as head coach just a few days later. All told, the Lakers are heading into the 2019 offseason with multiple items on their agenda, and that could include coming up with a satisfactory offer for their failed trade target from earlier this year, New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.
While the Lakers reportedly dangled several key players not named LeBron James in their attempts to land Davis ahead of the February 7 trade deadline, ESPN NBA insider and former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks believes that the team, as it stands, might not need to give up that much to trade for Davis. Citing his subscriber-only piece for ESPN published on Monday, NESN wrote that Marks suggested that the Lakers limit their trade package to forward Kyle Kuzma, point guard Lonzo Ball, their 2019 first-round draft pick, and their 2021 unprotected first-round draft pick.
At the moment, the Pelicans’ return on these draft picks remains far from certain. The Los Angeles Lakers will be entering the NBA draft lottery next month at No. 11, which gives them only a 2 percent chance of ending up with the first overall selection and a 9.4 chance of getting a pick in the top four.
Report: Davis trade talks cost LeBron trust of his teammates https://t.co/KqEAvvK2Ny— MSN Sports (@MSNSports) April 10, 2019
As quoted by NESN, Marks also explained the salary cap ramifications of such a theoretical deal, suggesting that the Lakers will no longer have enough cap space to sign a free agent to a maximum contract, but could have up to $30 million to spend on filling out the roster by signing more affordable free agents.
“Because the Lakers are using cap space as a buffer, their room would be reduced from $36 million to $21 million. Despite the eliminated max slot, the Lakers roster would consist of James, Davis, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and $27 million in room to build out the roster in free agency. That cap space would only increase to $30 million if James and Davis are all that’s left on the team.”
Although Marks’ suggested trade package backs up the belief that the Lakers still have a shot at acquiring Anthony Davis in the summer of 2019, numerous reports have alleged that Los Angeles’ attempts to trade for the star forward/center were detrimental to the team’s chemistry and morale in the second half of the 2018-19 season. Quoting an article from The Athletic‘s Bill Oram, Yahoo Sports wrote last week that the Davis trade talks caused a “schism” in the locker room, where the Lakers’ young players “no longer trusted” LeBron James, whom they accused of orchestrating the negotiations to get them traded to New Orleans.