Anthony Davis and LeBron James

USA Today

Anthony Davis Trade


June 17, 2019 - 9:33 am

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the NBA offseason is better than every other sports regular season. Because I’m not sure there is an NBA offseason. The Toronto Raptors had the NBA headlines for all of about 24 hours. They hadn’t even had their championship parade. The champagne hadn’t dried. That guy with the house plant was still a story.

That goofball was probably still marching around the Six with that Kaw-actus when Woj dropped a Woj Bomb for the ages on Saturday.

The Pelicans had agreed a deal to send Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package of players and picks.

Holy crap, that’s huge.

Alvin, hit me with some Randy Newman!


LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. LeBron and AD in purple and gold.

Davis got what he wanted. The Lakers got what they needed. Check that, what they absolutely had to have. The Lakers to do that, and were going to pay pretty much whatever New Orleans asked for in order to get it done. Because they really had no choice. And the reason they had no choice is because the organization had become the laughing stock of the entire league. An abject embarrassment. I don’t think I need remind anyone that their president quit his gig so he can tweet. And then accused the GM and Rob Lowe look-alike for being a backstabber. One report of terrible management and chaos after another. And of the wife of the former player pretty much being everything from the shadow GM to the shadow CEO to shadow owner to the shadow power forward.  

And that’s not to say those things aren’t still issues, but those seem a lot smaller when you bring in a 6’10 power forward who is one of the most unstoppable players in the league., in the prime of his career; and unlike every other star available, actually wants to be there. And now you get to pair him with LeBron James.

How big is that?

On Saturday night, the trending topics on twitter were: “Lakers, Pelicans, Lonzo, Kemba, Zion, Ingram, Anthony Davis, Kuzma, Bron, and Hart”

The Lakers had not played a game since April and they are dominating sports yet again.

How big was it? Magic Johnson tweeted the following: Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done.

Holy crap. You know it’s big when Magic is actually mentioning Rob’s name and giving him credit for something. And not blaming him plunging a steak knife into his back.

That’s why I’ve said all along, as dysfunctional as the Lakers have been and they could not possibly be more dysfunctional, they’ve been a joke; make one trade, if it’s the right trade, and everything can potentially change in an instant. Especially after Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both went down with major injuries. Suddenly, the West is wide open once again.

Again, this is a trade the Lakers had to make. A trade Linda Rambis errrrr Rob Pelinka had to make. Because if you make it now, you can use the combination of LeBron and Davis to attract other free agents and you can actually have a plan for this season and the future.

Don’t get it twisted….the Lakers gave up a lot. But don’t confuse TOO MUCH with a lot. And given that Davis has one year left on his deal, and almost anyone would have been looking at him as a one year rental, the Pelicans worked a helluva deal to get what they got: reportedly Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and the following picks, although this has changed a couple of times:

The number 4 in this year’s draft

A protected pick in 2021 that becomes unprotected in 2022

An unprotected swap in 2023

And unprotected first round pick in 2024 that an be deferred to 2025

And after the dust from the bomb settled, there were two questions: are the Lakers now the favorites in the West? And did the Lakers give up too much?

And the second question answers the first.

Of course the Lakers gave up a lot. You have to give up a lot to get an MVP candidate and one of the top five or seven players in the league. You’re not going to get him for pennies on the dollar.

Giving up too much? Are you serious? From a team that hasn’t finished above .500 in six years? If you’re a team that has missed the playoffs every year for six years running and now you’re regarded as a legit threat, there’s no such thing as giving up too much. Sure, Davis could get hurt. Or LeBron could get hurt. They could both get hurt. But if that’s a justification for not making this trade, it’s a justification for never making any trades.

If you’re saying they gave up too much, you either really really love those young Laker players or really really hate the Lakers, because that is a legitimately terrible take.

Too much? Lonzo Ball can see a lot of the court, but he’s rarely healthy enough to be on the court. Three years into Brandon Ingram’s career and he’s not exactly the second coming of Kevin Durant that Lakers fans were hyped about. Josh Hart is a really nice piece, but he averages less than 8 points and 4 rebounds a game.

For all their potential, those guys weren’t leading to a bunch of wins. Anthony Davis does. Again, this is Anthony Davis we’re talking about. The guy who averaged 26, 12 and 4 this year in a season that was truly weird. The guy who averaged 28 and 11 and 28 and 12 the previous two years. And he’s 26 years old. As good as he’s been, he might not have reached his prime yet. And he’s certainly never played with anyone near as good as LeBron. I could even argue that LeBron has never played with anyone as good as A.D.

SO…You’re really going to sweat a pick swap in 2025 over that?

Need I remind you that the Lakers have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons. Barring injuries this year, that streak is over. Not only is that streak over, they really are a legit threat in the West. Golden State has issues for next season, so the West is wide ass  open,

Of course there’s a big difference between being a possible contender in June 2019 and an actual contender in June 2020 and that’s contingent upon the official timing of the trade, what that means for their salary cap, and the rest of the moves they make over the summer. Can they squeeze out the space for a run at a max guy like Kemba? Or do they split that money up and get shooters and depth?

Regardless, they now have two of the top seven players in the league. They have something to build on. You have to give up something for that.

And speaking of giving up something, just because Davis ended up in Los Angeles does not mean that Pelicans genius David Griffin did not do his job. He did. He most certainly did. Because he got three young players and a bunch of draft picks. Not only did he get a bunch of draft picks, but he’s betting on those draft picks becoming increasingly valuable after LeBron ages out or retires. It’s really, really smart.  

Last year, the Lakers tripped all over themselves and added LeBron James. This year, they vomited all over themselves for a couple months and ended up with Anthony Davis. Must be nice. Must be freaking nice. Because somehow, some way, they’re falling forward, and while I can’t guarantee that it’s going to work out, they’ve at least given themselves a chance. And that was a move they simply had to make. And now I can’t wait to see what Linda Rambis has up her sleeve. Errrrrr, Rob Lowe…..errr Rob Pelinka.