The Trade that everyone knew was coming finally happened.
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Anthony Davis.
Let’s pause for a moment to let that sink in: Anthony Davis and LeBron James are now the face of the Los Angeles Lakers. Just wow.
Last season in limited minutes Davis (AD) was: 26 points a game, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.4 blocks, 1.6 steals, and shot over 33% from three, despite playing his fewest minutes since his rookie season.
AD is currently one of the top 5 players in the NBA (maybe top 10 depends on who you ask) with the potential to be a top three player this season and make an MVP run. Also did I mention he is only 26….
Before I get carried away, I just want to say that the New Orleans Pelicans did very well in this trade. In return for AD they managed to get quite a haul: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first round picks, including the number 4 pick this year, Lakers protected pick in 2021 and an unprotected pick in 2024. While this is much less than the massive offer from the Lakers in February, it is still a huge win.
The Pelicans now have a young core staring Zion Williamson (when he gets picked number 1). Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball make a compelling and defensive heavy back court. Ingram will be an All-Star one day and has shown glimpses of his future potential (like averaging 28 points in March 2019 while LeBron was injured). Not to mention Josh Hart off providing a 3 and D spark off the bench. The Pelicans are a solid centre away from being a Playoff Team.
Whilst I’m not overly happy that the Lakers traded Brandon Ingram over Kyle Kuzma, I think really both teams won this trade.
But I am not here to talk about the Pelicans, I want to talk about my team: the Los Angeles Lakers. A team that has not been to the NBA Playoffs since 2013, that has given away players only to see them become All-Stars, watched as our front office crumbled and cried as we struck out on every free agent in the last five years (besides LeBron James).
The Lakers are now in with a chance. After years of waiting, the Lakers finally have the pieces to make a championship run.
I feel a lot of emotions right now but when I first saw the news, I felt relief. The Lakers now have two superstars and free agency hasn’t even started yet. The looming uncertainty that surrounded the Lakers since February has finally been lifted, especially with rumours of AD signing an extension with the Lakers in free agency 2020.
Of course, at the back of my mind is also fear… what if this turns into a Steve Nash and Dwight Howard situation. In 2012, I also felt this great excitement, but those feelings quickly fizzled into the abyss after what was one of the most disappointing Lakers season’s in recent memory.
But I feel this trade is different – Anthony Davis is a better player (he beats Howard in every stat bar rebounds and can actually shoot the three and free throws), he is also younger and arguably healthier. He also loves LeBron (unlike Kobe and Dwight fighting all of that season).
The Lakers knew that this was their final chance to make a run with LeBron in his prime. They didn’t have a choice but to make the trade. LeBron is turning 35 this year and probably will have his final effective year as the current NBA goat (although we have already seen this title being slowly taken away from him as he inevitably declines over the past year or so). Also if there was ever a good time to make a run in the West it is now… the Warriors are injured…for the first time in five years the West is open for business.
Lakers may only have Davis, LeBron, Kuzma, Wagner and Bonga left on their roster but they also have around $30 or so million in cap space to surround LeBron and Davis with a good squad.
The Lakers should NOT go after another star but rather pad out their team with reliable 3 and D players, a point guard and role players who can support AD, LeBron and Kuzma on offence/ defence and strengthen their bench. They are in the best position to assemble a deep roster headed by two All-stars and an offensive powerhouse in Kuzma. I’m already too excited for what this season holds.
This trade needed to happen, and I am glad that it did because now the Free Agency Bonanza ahead is finally starting, the Lakers are finally ready for the offseason and I cannot wait to see what happens next!
So to Anthony Davis I saw… Welcome to Hollywood!