Unless you’ve been living under a rock or care more about Sunday’s Super Bowl, the word around LA is that New Orleans Pelicans forward, Anthony Davis has requested a trade and the Los Angeles Lakers are his preferred team.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“Teams are learning that Davis’ stated intention will be to play the season elsewhere if traded outside of the Lakers, but move to the Lakers as a free agent in 2020.”
With the NBA’s February 7 trading deadline rapidly approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans finally spoke this week and the Lakers have reportedly offered five trade scenarios that could bring AD to LA.
In those reported trade scenarios, you could see anyone from Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all leave LA and head to New Orleans.
With those potentially players potentially leaving, you need some more fillers on that roster.
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith might be a person of interest.
“He’s owed a little bit of money for next year,” Bleacher Report writer and basketball capologist Eric Pincus told me on this week’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
Smith, 33 has not played NBA basketball in more than two months. He’s been on paid leave with the team after publicly acknowledging that he doesn’t seem him in the Cavaliers’ immediate plans.
Smith’s contract runs into the summer of 2020.
“Most of it is not guaranteed and some of it is,” says Pincus.
“And so, there’s a chance that they hold on to him, but I think they’re going to do everything that they can to trade him.”
The Cavs have yet to make a decision on Smith’s future but with Thursday’s NBA trade deadline nearing, that could change.
Back in November, league sources shared that both the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers have had interest in Smith. “If he does get bought out, they’re going to stretch out that money and I don’t think it’s harmful,” says Pincus.
“If he does get bought out and if the Lakers make an Anthony Davis trade and have multiple roster spots to fill, I could easily see J.R. in Los Angeles playing with LeBron and Melo for sure.”
Smith and James were teammates and they won a championship alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the Cavs’ 2016 championship team.
Anthony and Smith were also teammates as members of the New York Knicks that went 54-28 under then-head coach Mike Woodson and lost to a Paul George-led Indiana Pacers in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
LeBron, Melo and J.R. Smith all on the same squad in LA? Say it ain’t so!
“If the Lakers make a trade, that opens up a roster spot,” Eric Pincus told the Scoop B Radio Podcast this week. “If they trade for Anthony Davis, then I would say the odds go up to near 100 percent.”
Sounds crazy? Maybe, maybe not!
But it still depends on one thing: an Anthony Davis Lakers trade.
Worth noting: the Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan are expected to become unrestricted free agents.
In the meantime, Lakers are filling in gaps to prepare for the highly regarded summer of 2019.
So Melo to LA is ‘a thing? ‘“It’s a reasonably high chance,” says Pincus.
“If a roster spot does open up, you can pretty much lock up that Carmelo Anthony will end up with the Lakers.”
As for the ways to make that happen, Pincus is cautious.
“I just don’t know,” he said.
“If you look at the Lakers and say: they don’t make a trade, who would they cut? I don’t think they’re cutting any of their young guys. Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk all have; they’re all in their future if they’re not traded in a bigger deal. And then all of their young players, they’re not cutting Lonzo [Ball] and all of those guys and then their veterans, each one of them has a place in their rotation. Lance [Stephenson], [Michael] Beasley, [Tyson] Chandler, [JaVale] McGee, [Rajon] Rondo, they’re all important pieces of what they’re trying to do. Luke Walton has a nice tool kit of ways he can go when this team is fully healthy. Even Ivica Zubac who was kind of a non-factor early has kind of played himself into being an asset for the Lakers being as a player or a trade piece.”