While news of the devastating Kevin Durant injury has captivated media headlines throughout the day, the latest reports have the Lakers closing in on a blockbuster trade to land superstar Anthony Davis. The Pelicans have most recently been asking for a loaded trade package including a current All-Star, future All-Star, and two draft picks. With the Lakers not having an All-Star outside of LeBron James, bringing other teams into the deal to help meet the Pelicans’ lofty demands makes sense.
Although nothing has been reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski or The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the few reports that have come out so far today seem to have a common theme and involve a number of moving parts to the deal.
Lakers Anthony Davis Trade Close; Lonzo Ball to 3rd Team [Report]
Enter the Wizards, with the Achilles’ injury to John Wall and the Wizards’ payroll subsequently going up in flames without him in the lineup, they need to clear a large amount of salary. Bradley Beal is set to make $27 million and is coming off a career year. A certified All-Star, Beal is exactly what the Pelicans are demanding in their trade and clearing his money could allow the Wizards to help rebuild in the ashes of the Wall/Beal era.
OnSMASH reports that a fourth team could be entering the mix and that the Suns may be the eventual landing spot for Lonzo Ball. The Suns have been desperate for a defensive-minded point guard to put next to Devin Booker and Lonzo fits that mold perfectly. With a number of assets and heaps of cap flexibility, the Suns could be a home for bad contracts and cap clearing in exchange for a promising young asset like Lonzo in a multi-team deal.
While there haven’t been any additional rumblings outside these two reports, it is worth noting as the Lakers had aggressively pursued Davis during the regular season and would prefer to land him before the Celtics can potentially add themselves to the mix. The Celtics become official players at the start of free agency (assuming Irving opts out of the last year of his deal) and despite the uncertainty surrounding Irving’s future, hold one of the best sets of young players and future draft capital.
Other Lakers Offseason Targets
It will be interesting to see what exactly the Lakers part with in order to bring Davis on board if the reports are true. Especially after shipping off crucial members of their young core (presumably) in the deal, they will most likely want to have the financial flexibility to go get some impact players on the free agent market.
If they play their cards right, they can even still bring on a max contract free agent to play alongside Davis – however, this requires them to essentially gut the entire roster to make the salary work. Those names could still include big fish like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and possibly Kyrie Irving.