The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a jumpstart and a viable trade for Russell Westbrook continues to be unlikely. One option that so far has not been on the table is dealing Anthony Davis to help orchestrate a major roster shakeup.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley suggested several trades that would “shock” the NBA including one involving the Lakers making a deal with their historic rivals in Boston. Buckley has the Lakers swapping Davis for star wing Jaylen Brown as part of a major trade with the Celtics.
The Lakers would also receive Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith and a 2023 second-round pick via the Blazers as part of the deal. Los Angeles sends Boston Talen Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore and their 2027 first-round pick (top-three protected) along with Davis in the proposed trade.
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A Blockbuster Trade Could Jumpstart the Lakers & Celtics
Both the Lakers and Celtics have drastically underachieved, and Buckley suggested that general manager Rob Pelinka may need to consider drastic alternatives if Los Angeles wants different results for the second half of the season. For the Celtics, there continues to be long-term skepticism about the potential upside of Brown and Jayson Tatum playing together.
“The Lakers are woefully short on trade chips, but dangling Anthony Davis would open up the tier of elite targets otherwise inaccessible to them,” Buckley explained. “Jaylen Brown looks like he was built to cure their biggest issues, simultaneously scratching itches for shot-creation, three-point shooting and perimeter defense. He is young enough (25) to run the floor with Russell Westbrook and skilled enough to work half-court sets with LeBron James.
“Marcus Smart is the point-of-attack stopper the Lakers have missed since splitting from Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over the summer. Spacing could get tight with a Smart-Westbrook backcourt, but if Smart gets back to the 34.8 clip he shot over the past three seasons, that could ease some concerns. Sophomore Aaron Nesmith might add a bit of breathing room, too, if he ever lives up to his predraft reputation as a fireballer from range.”
Could the Lakers Explore Trading A.D.?
Two questions the Lakers need to address as part of this hypothetical scenario. Is the team willing to move on from Davis? If so, is now the right time to deal Davis when his trade value has taken a hit given his recent injuries?
LeBron James’ window may be closing but this deal is unlikely to make the Lakers immediate title contenders. Davis was once thought of as one of the top players in the NBA. The Lakers would be wise to let the big man get healthy and potentially explore trades this offseason if the team continues to underachieve when their roster returns to full strength.
Davis Is Getting Closer to Returning to the Floor
Brown is averaging 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and three assists while shooting 36% from behind the three-point line. By comparison, Davis averaged 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and two blocks in his 27 appearances prior to being sidelined with a knee injury. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently indicated Davis is getting closer to returning to the floor.
“Yeah, so everything looked clean on the MRI and the checkup with the doctors,” Vogel explained during a January 17 press conference. “So, he’s been cleared for an on-court ramp up with contact and that doesn’t mean we’ll have a timeline. [We’re] still reconditioning and, you know, [there is a] ramp up of work involved, but we won’t have a timeline on it.”
The Lakers are unlikely to “shock” the NBA world at the deadline by moving Davis, and may even find it challenging to trade Westbrook. If the Lakers continue to underachieve, fans can expect the Davis trade rumors to ramp up this offseason, especially if unfortunate injuries continue to follow the big man.