Trade talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans involving Anthony Davis got messy, and that would be putting it gently. Things went somewhat off the rails when the rumors and rumblings around a potential deal picked up steam prior to the NBA trade deadline. For the most part, the public view is that the Lakers made at least one or two offers that were incredibly strong and probably should have been accepted. Not everyone entirely agrees with that, though.
The Pelicans opted to wait on trading Davis until the offseason, possibly for the chance to negotiate with the Boston Celtics. But The Ringer’s Bill Simmons is placing the blame squarely on the team who made the push to acquire the star forward.
On the latest edition of The Bill Simmons Podcast on The Ringer, he sounded off on the situation and stated his belief that the Lakers actually “blew it” prior to the deadline.
“I actually think they [Lakers] blew it … I think there was a road to get close to one and what they did was antagonize the Pelicans, piss them off and make it adversarial, which did not, is not how it needed to play out.” Simmons stated.
Bill Simmons Expands on Lakers Blame for Failed Davis Trade Talks
He doubled down shortly after when Ryen Russillo asked him if things could have gone differently had the Lakers handled talks in a more secretive and professional way. Simmons stated that while he’s not sure if the team would have completed a deal, that they did make it “impossible.”
“I don’t know if they would have him. I think the way they handled it made it impossible. I think they made it really adversarial with an organization that was clearly in turmoil since they just fired their GM and an owner who has no idea what she’s doing.” said Simmons.
For what it’s worth, former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps was fired after the trade deadline, so that didn’t factor into this. Aside from that, it’s an interesting argument, but one that’s tough to get on board with considering the Lakers essentially agreed to everything New Orleans wanted before the final request.
Pelicans’ Huge Trade Demands From Lakers & Reported Offer
Some of the final chatter that came out surrounding talks between the Lakers and Pelicans featured rumblings of a huge offer from Magic Johnson and company. This included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and two first-round picks. When that was turned away, it came to light that Demps and company were seeking even more.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Pelicans wanted a “historic haul of picks” which included four first-rounders.
The Pelicans haven’t countered the Lakers’ offers but do have expectations that Johnson will overwhelm them with young players and a historic haul of draft picks. To New Orleans, that means four first-round and second-round picks as part of a trade package, league sources told ESPN.
The talks fell apart right around that point, and now the attention surrounding a possible Davis trade will shift to the offseason. It’s still a major unknown as to whether the Lakers can get a deal done, especially with the Celtics expected to be in the mix, but this sets up an interesting stretch after the year.