Lakers Unsuccessful Trade Attempts for Anthony Davis Causes Serious Repercussions
What should have been a typical shoot around for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday turned into a media frenzy as the NBA trade deadline was approaching. Kyle Kuzma took his spot in front of the media tent where he acknowledged his name in trade rumors. “It means you have value, and it means potentially you could be in this league a long time,” said Kuz. It might be taken as flattery to some, but being pawns in trade rumors can have critical outcomes, especially when the trade in question does not get pulled off.
Unsuccessful Attempts for Anthony Davis
Rich Paul spoke with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on January 29th and informed him of Anthony Davis’ future with the Pelicans. Davis would not sign an extension this summer with the Pelicans and requested a trade. It was rumored around the league that the Lakers are Davis’ preferred destination. Slowly after, trade offers for Davis began to leak. Culminating to the Lakers’ mega offer, reported by L.A. Times reporter, Brad Turner. The offer included: Lonzo Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, two first-round picks, and the willingness to take on Pelicans’ Solomon Hill contract.
The Pelicans would then counter-offer by requesting 6-8 draft picks. The Lakers did not seem to appreciate that and so they retracted their offer.
Davis has returned from a finger injury that sidelined him for almost 3 weeks and continues to dominate the floor. His first game back was ironically the first game after the trade deadline against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He scored 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists in just 25 minutes.
A.D.’s ability to score in the paint and in the perimeter is a rare ability for big men in the league. Not only is he successful on offense, but he also has the skill to dig into an opposing teams’ defense. Davis’ has worked on being a playmaker during the offseason. He is now averaging 4.3 assists this season so far. An immense improvement compared to last season where he only averaged 2.3 APG.
Now imagine, Davis’ freak athleticism combined with the basketball genius that is LeBron James. L.A. could have been real competition for the Golden State Warriors. Of course, given that the Lakers would have found a way to make up for all the players they would have lost in the potential trade.
Lakers Chemistry in Jeopardy
However, the negotiations did not go as planned for the Lakers. When the trade rumors began to seep out to the media something seemed off about Los Angeles.
The Lakers’ 130- 111 loss on January 21st against the Warriors was foretelling of the bigger turmoil that would soon consume this team. After their downfall, there were reports that Beasley, McGee, and Lance Stephenson confronted coach Luke Walton after Walton called out players for playing selfishly. The supposed trade rumors surrounding the Lakers have created a tense environment. The uncertainty of a spot on the team can stress players and produce botched chemistry within the Lakers.
Then Los Angeles fell to the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76ers and then the Atlanta Hawks. They had a momentary amazing, buzzer-beating win against the Boston Celtics.
After failing against the 76ers, Kuzma admitted that the trade rumors had gotten to the young team. “That was our first time around and a lot of us kind of let it get to us, but as professionals, we can’t,” responded Kuz. It’s easier said than done, and yet Kuzma scored 39 points.
Players and line-ups have not been a consistent part of the Lakers this season. They have rarely had their entire roster healthy and players ready to play. Now, with the actual trades made by L.A., the team will need to readjust again.
Lakers Fix Depth Problem
Magic Johnson and Co. traded shooting guard Svi Mykhailiuk and a second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons in turn for small forward, Reggie Bullock. Bullock, will bring consistent shooting for the Lakers. The addition of Bullock will test the Lakers’ ability to adapt as the former Piston will need to compete for a chance at minutes. Not only that but the Lakers also traded Ivica Zubac and Beasley to the Clippers in exchange for center, Mike Muscala. Another player to add to the rotation.
The subtraction and addition of players to an already unsteady roster can only yield chemistry problems.
In last year’s offseason, when the Lakers were stacking up with players, questions were raised. Did the purple and gold miss an opportunity by not signing enough offensive shooting power? Their poor shooting percentage from the three-point line so far this season answered that question and so the Lakers set off to correct their mistake. The proper trades were made to add depth, but will it be enough is the next question. Well, the Lakers just lost in their final game before the All-Star break to the 12th seed Atlanta Hawks 117-113 on February 12th.
Compliments or not, being part of trade rumors can take a toll on a team and the Lakers seemed to have reached rock bottom.