Proposed ‘Dream’ Trade Sends Lakers a Former All-Star for Anthony Davis

Getty Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are a popular destination when it comes to trade rumors as general manager Rob Pelinka faces some difficult decisions on the team’s key players ahead of the February 10 deadline. Sports Illustrated’s Dalton Trigg proposed a “pipe-dream idea” of a blockbuster Lakers-Mavericks deal with Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis as the centerpiece of the hypothetical trade.

“Seems like people are always trying to get Luka Doncic in a Lakers uniform… I personally think this should happen instead,” Trigg detailed on Twitter on January 5.

The deal has the Lakers receiving Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, the Mavericks 2025 first-round pick (protected) and Dallas’ 2027 first-round pick (protected). There is a lot to unpack with the idea, but this is likely an unappealing package for a player the Lakers hope can be the focal point of the team when LeBron James ultimately retires.

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Porzingis’ 5-Year, $158 Million Contract Is a Potential Deal Breaker

Let’s start with the first deal-breaker for the Lakers which is Porzingis’ five-year, $158 million contract which comes with a $31.6 million salary. Porzingis’ deal runs through the 2023-24 season which is unpleasant for a player whose best basketball may be in the past.

The Mavs big man is still playing at a high-level but is not the same caliber player as Davis. Porzingis is averaging 20.6 points, eight rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting a dismal 28.2% from behind the three-point line this season. Here is Trigg’s argument as to why the Lakers may be willing to take a swing on the deal.

“Another issue for the Lakers is lack of draft capital, which also hampers their trade flexibility on top of the $120 million being split between James, Westbrook and Davis,” Trigg detailed. “The Mavs have somewhat of a shortage of draft capital themselves, but it’s not to the extent of what L.A. is dealing with. So with LeBron not getting any younger, and the Lakers not having many ways to improve their stuck-in-the mud roster, what can they do?

“…Porzingis has his own history of concerning injuries, but he’s arguably been more successful than Davis has this season, averaging nearly 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks while playing five less minutes per game. Davis is viewed as the better defensive player, but this season, both he and Porzingis have a 105 defensive rating. Porzingis holds a three-point edge (115 to 112) on Davis when it comes to offensive ratings, though.”

A.D.’s Trade Value Has Taken a Hit Making a Deal Unlikely

Finney-Smith is a solid role player averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists in his 38 starts this season. The forward is shooting a respectable 38.1% from the three-point line, which would be a plus for the Lakers. The idea of the Lakers adding more draft picks is appealing, but Los Angeles would need the selections to be unprotected for the trade package to even be a conversation.

Davis’ trade value has taken a hit with his injury woes so there is little chance the Lakers deal the big man by the deadline. The team’s best hope is that a healthy Davis can help jumpstart the Lakers season when he returns to the floor. Davis is leaning on the advice of his wife and hoping the injury could be a blessing in disguise.

“(She’s) very spiritual, and believes that this is a time for me to get my mind right, get the leg right, get the body right, and that I’ll be back stronger than ever,” Davis said in December 2021, per The Athletic’s Bill Oram.

There is another Mavericks players the Lakers (along with every other NBA team) would have an interest in if he ever hits the free-agent market. Luka Doncic’s decision to sign the super-max extension this offseason put a big dent in the Lakers’ slim chances of landing the superstar any time soon. For now, the Lakers best chance of improvement is likely to come from the health of their roster rather than a blockbuster trade.

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