After months of swirling trade winds and rampant speculation, the NBA world became privy to the worst-kept secret in league circles: Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans.
ESPN analyst Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a massive ‘Woj Bomb’ Monday morning, as Davis’ agent Rich Paul publicly revealed that Davis put in a trade request in order to leave the Big Easy.
Of course, this news has already set off a firestorm across all social platforms.
The team most heavily associated with Davis has been the Lakers. Unable to land a premier free agent outside of LeBron James, it appears as if Los Angeles will look to trade for arguably the game’s best big man.
Natural ties exist with James. AD is represented by James’ same agency (and the one run by his childhood friend). Klutch Sports has recently developed into a powerhouse agency over the last few years — primarily on the back of James and his backing. With Davis entering the fold, many assumed that he would one day don the purple and gold. To further the hype, Davis recently bought a $7.5 million-dollar house in the ritzy Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village.
We will look at 3 reasons why the Lakers must do everything in their power to trade for Davis immediately. Should LA pair Davis with a healthy James, one can be sure that the league will take notice — particularly the Golden State Warriors.
1. Beat Boston To The Punch
The Lakers’s biggest competition in trading for AD is the Boston Celtics. Flush with assets (both young players and picks), Danny Ainge would love nothing more than to stick it to his biggest rival. Davis could be the missing piece in helping Boston get over the proverbial hump in an ever-improving Eastern Conference.
However, the Lakers currently hold a huge advantage until the month of July. Davis and Kyrie Irving both signed contract extensions under a term called the Rose Rule. Named after Derrick Rose, this stipulation
“allows certain players coming off their rookie-scale contracts to earn 30 percent of the salary cap as opposed to 25 percent. To be eligible, a player must have achieved one of three accolades during the first four seasons of his career: MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year award, or two All-NBA selections.”
The NBA doesn’t allow any teams to trade for more than one player who has signed an extension under this provision. As such, Boston cannot trade for Davis until Irving’s contract runs out (which would be this summer).
Simply put, the Lakers have a short window to get a deal done before running the risk of losing him to the Celtics. Boston has a treasure trove of picks, not to mention the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Depending on how much one values Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and Josh Hart, the NO front office may opt to wait it out — and thus go for a package surrounding Tatum.
As a means to not have this scenario unfold, the Lakers may have to mortgage their future in order to land this prized possession. The date of February 7th, 2019 (the NBA trade deadline) may turn out to be an iconic date within the annals of the Lakers’ franchise.
2. Father Time is Against LeBron
At 34 years of age, LeBron isn’t getting any younger. The window for him to be an elite player is sadly shrinking, even if he’s still atop the player leader board at this current time. James has missed nearly 20 games with a freak groin injury — something that could account for the aging process.
Only 25 years of age, Davis isn’t yet in his prime. By landing him — and signing him to an extension — the Lakers would basically be ensuring themselves an elite player for the next five-to-seven years. Even if LeBron falls off completely (which appears unlikely), Davis will be there to pick up the pieces. He’s the perfect player to gradually transition into once James isn’t at the top of his game.
3. AD Could be the Next Shaq
In 1996, the trajectory of the franchise changed when the combination of Jerry West and the late Jerry Buss orchestrated the acquisition of a then-24-year-old Shaquille O’Neal.
It didn’t take long to see the impact O’Neal would have in Los Angeles. Dominant big men are exceptionally hard to find. Davis is the archetype big in the modern NBA. He can score in transition, in the paint, from the perimeter, and on any post-designed look. Duly, Davis protects the rim as an elite shot-blocker.
While a different player than Shaq, Davis could have a similar impact in Los Angeles when it comes to winning at the highest level.
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