The Anthony-Davis-to-Lakers talk will never stop until he’s wearing the purple and gold or signing long-term to play somewhere else.
It’s no secret, there appears to be some mutual interest between the Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans all-world big man, but Davis’ availability depends on his current team’s willingness to trade him, their affinity for the Lakers’ offer–assuming one comes through–and/or if Davis hits the free-agent market after the 2019-20 season when he can bypass his player option.
Clearly, there are a lot of ifs and maybes involved, but the rumblings are getting louder by the day.
According to veteran NBA reporter Chris Sheridan, Davis wants to win and he wants to be the best player on the floor every night. The Lakers are among five teams he’d be interested in at this point. The others are the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and the Pelicans.
Because Davis’ player option doesn’t come up until after next season, the Pelicans don’t have to move him hastily. In fact, they could wait until the offseason or this time next year to entertain the best offers. Per Sheridan, if the team is “middle-of-the-pack” the Pels are less likely to trade Davis.
Ultimately, they would have to believe they stand no real chance of re-signing him to do a deal. He’s 25 years old and already one of the top 3 or 4 players in the league. While he’s had injury problems throughout his career, he’s probably the best big man in the NBA already.
When you consider he’s just entering his athletic prime, it’s no wonder he’s such a coveted guy. The Pelicans are currently sitting 11th, but still just outside of the playoff picture in a competitive Western Conference, so it’s possible the team could slip out or even climb into serious contention for a Top-4 slot. In any case, the Lakers and their fanbase will be monitoring all things Davis very close–even if a more realistic timeframe for his availability would be this offseason.
Lakers Like Khris Middleton
While he’s not considered a superstar by the casual fan, Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton is considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA. While he’s not quite as good of a shooter as Klay Thompson or as athletic and strong as Jimmy Butler, he’s better ballhandler and playmaker than Thompson, and just a notch below as a long-range bomber. He’s a much better shooter than Butler and almost as good of a defender.
If you put him in a lineup with Lonzo Ball and LeBron James, you have an offensive weapon who can spread the floor and a perimeter defender who can take pressure off the both of them. Per Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, the Lakers are among the teams that will be interested in signing Middleton this offseason.
That might not be the type of signing that moves the needle as much as acquiring Kawhi Leonard, Davis or Kevin Durant, but it could be a smart addition to a team that is beginning to look more like a contender every day.
Brandon Ingram Could Be Moved for the Right Deal
Butler was ultimately dealt from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the 76ers, but ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says Brandon Ingram’s name was mentioned as part of a package to bring Butler to L.A. that wasn’t the first time Ingram was a part of a rumored deal to bring in a superstar. It is also believed he would have been included if the Lakers had been able to trade for Kawhi Leonard prior to the beginning of the season.
As it stands, Ingram is still a Laker. However, with Magic Johnson and the Lakers seemingly hellbent on bringing in another superstar and Ingram being one of the team’s most-valued young assets, the 21-year-old’s days in L.A. are likely numbered.