It has been suggested that, after two years—or, perhaps more accurately, after much of his NBA career—spent battling injuries with the Lakers, the value of star forward Anthony Davis has plummeted around the league. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said as much last week, noting that, “you can’t get but so much value for Anthony Davis because he’s perpetually injured.”
Conversations around the league, though, suggest otherwise. Yes, Davis has missed 68 of the Lakers’ 154 games in the last two years, but if L.A. were to put Davis on the trading block in earnest, one GM said, “You’d have 29 teams ready with offers for him.”
Said one Eastern Conference executive of the notion that Davis does not have much value: “It’s crazy. Look, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder. But he is an elite talent and he is 29 years old. Everybody wants him, everybody thinks that if they get their hands on him, they can keep him healthy, etc., etc. Now, can you get the kind of offer the Lakers gave up when they traded for him (in 2019)? No, of course not. But a team like Chicago, where he is from, they would bend over backwards to get him. Dallas, putting him with Luka? Of course, they would. Phoenix, Miami, any team that really wants to take that next step, the injury is a risk but the payoff you get if you can keep him on the floor is worth it.”
Smith is right in that there is a cap on the value the Lakers could get in return for Davis because of health concerns, a cap that was not there three years ago. But if the Lakers really wanted to make a blockbuster for Davis—and there’s no indication they do—one would be there for them.
Where to, Dennis Schroder?
Speaking of the Lakers, another interesting summer could be ahead for wayward L.A. point guard Dennis Schroder, who bounced from L.A. to Boston after he was unable to get a lucrative contract last season, then was sent on to Houston to close out the season. That could include a return to the Lakers next year, especially if Schroder is again unable to land the kind of nine-figure contract he sought last summer, and failed to get.
Schroder played reasonably well with the Lakers, and took too much heat for the team’s shortcomings in 2020-21. “There were times last year they would have begged to have (Schroder) back instead of (Russell) Westbrook,” one executive said.
He was decent enough for Boston before landing with the Rockets, and it is possible, according to a source, that Houston re-signs Schroder using a part of its midlevel exception, then looks to trade him ahead of next winter’s deadline, much as the Celtics did.
The Bulls had an interest in Schroder at the deadline last February. If they trade guard Coby White in the coming weeks, a league source said, their interest in Schroder could be revived. Schroder had his best year as a pro while playing under Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City in 2019-20.
Knicks Going Young(-ish)?
The Knicks have been rumored to be a potential landing spot for Donovan Mitchell, and it would certainly behoove them to attempt a blockbuster move like that. But executives around the league expect the Knicks to take a different tack this offseason, pursuing young-ish payers with upside.
Last year, of course, the Knicks brought in Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, thinking that the two veterans could help push them deeper into the playoffs this season. That did not work out so well, and now the expectation will be for New York to push for youth.
Potential targets include Mo Bamba, who played well down the stretch and is likely to either stay with Orlando or be out of the Knicks’ range. Point guard Tyus Jones and forward Chris Boucher (who is 29, and not all that young) are other possible targets in Manhattan. The Knicks, too, could take another look at Schroder after considering him last summer.