Former NBA Champion Floated In Potential Lakers Swap With Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Since joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019, Anthony Davis has struggled to remain healthy and, over the last few years, hasn’t seen the floor for more than 50% of his team’s games.

As such, it would make perfect sense if the Lakers decided to cut ties with their star big man in search of a new star who can remain on the court for the majority of the season. According to a Western Conference executive, who spoke with Heavy On Sports Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, Khris Middleton could be the ideal trade target should the Lakers decide to move on from Davis.

“Khris Middleton. He might have to opt into his contract (he has a player option at $40.4 million for 2023-24) next year, and that could make him a trade candidate in Milwaukee. He is not the player Davis is when healthy, but his contract has one less year if Davis eventually opts in, too. Middleton would be a good complement to LeBron (James), but they’d really be lacking in the rest of the roster,” the executive said.

Middleton has only played 7 games this season after undergoing wrist surgery during the off-season. However, throughout his career, he’s been a reliable member of the Milwaukee Bucks’ rotation, posting career averages of 17 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 49.4% from two-point range and 39% from deep.

Lakers Are ‘Over Reliant’ On Anthony Davis

According to ESPN’S Stephen A Smith, who was speaking on a December 9 episode of NBA Countdown, the Lakers have become over-reliant on Davis, especially on the defensive side of the floor.

“It’s clearly Anthony Davis. Simply because the Lakers don’t have a defense without him, without him, they giving up about 123 points a game, they can’t stop a cold. That’s the bottom line. And that’s what it really really comes down to. And he’s their interior offense as well. LeBron can get to the hole, Russell Westbrook can get to the hole. But, you talking about somebody that can play with their back to the basket, and get to the hole, get in the paint, make things happen, block shots, rebound – that would be Anthony Davis,” Smith said.

The Lakers have been in good form since Davis’ injury going 8-7 without him in the rotation. As such, the front office might feel that the team is better served by trading the oft-injured big man for some fresh new talent.

Anthony Davis Is Nearing A Return From Injury

According to Darvin Ham, who was speaking to the LA Times Dan Woike during a recent practice, the Lakers are close to getting Anthony Davis back in their rotation, along with Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV – as all three players are progressing well with their respective rehabs.

“Lonnie is trending in the right direction, Austin is trending in the right direction, AD looked really good. He was out on the floor a little bit today…So we’re right on course of what we want to get done in terms of getting them back in the lineup,” Ham said.

The Lakers will be hoping that Davis’ return from injury can help the team begin to climb the Western Conference rankings and make a push toward the post-season. Otherwise, Los Angeles will be watching the playoffs from home for the second straight season.

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