The never-ending whirlwind surrounding the future of Anthony Davis has been a season-long headache for fans, teammates and front office of the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis, a superstar and one of the NBA’s elite talents made it clear he wanted to be traded — specifically to the Los Angeles Lakers. With the season winding down and the Pelicans heading nowhere fast, were they wise or foolish to pass up on the Lakers impressive trade package before the Feb 5 deadline?
Rumors circulated in Feb that Lakers executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka offered the Pelicans an impressive offer for Davis that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope and two first-round picks. Should those rumors be true, the Pelicans dropped the ball in this matter. While Davis is having another incredible season averaging 25.9 points and 12 rebounds per game, Pelicans ownership has struggled over his seven-year career to put together a consistent winner. From the baffling firing of Monty Williams to letting star center Demarcus Cousins walk in free agency, the Pelicans franchise have wasted valuable prime years of arguably basketballs best talent.
The Lakers offer would have solidified the Pelicans with a young core of players who have yet to reach their peak, and they still could have used 2013 NBA All-star guard Jrue Holiday in trade talks to acquire more young talent and draft picks.
So why did the Pelicans pass on the Lakers lofty offer? Perhaps it was to spite LeBron James and Klutch Sports Group Agent Rich Paul?
While the Pelicans have a right to be upset with potential tampering that may have taken place between James, Paul, and his client Davis, the NBA remains a business, and the front office should have moved on from their franchise player quickly. While teams such as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers may get involved in trade talks this summer, do they have the assets that would surpass that of the Lakers offer?
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and Clippers consultant Jerry West are all-time great front office executives, and they rarely overpay to acquire a player. The chances of either Ainge or West offering anything close to what Johnson and the Lakers made available is unrealistic.
In the end, maybe the Pelicans are banking on cooler heads to prevail, and Davis will reevaluate his situation during the summer; Similar to 2007 when Laker legend Kobe Bryant demanded a trade out of Los Angeles only to ultimately stay put and win consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010. While the notion of Davis changing his mind may have once been a bright idea, his appearance on LeBron James’s HBO show The Shop delivered a gut punch to Pelicans fans everywhere.
The Pelicans superstar made it clear he’s ready to take control of his career: “As the CEO of my own business, I got the power. I’m doing what I wanna do and not what somebody’s telling me to do.”
Davis is ready for a change and with a franchise record of 250-319 since drafting him in 2012, the Pelicans should be too!