Anthony Davis to the Lakers Makes More Sense Than You Think

The effort to unseat the Warriors is an ongoing one. Anthony Davis could be the key to that, and the team to trade for him might be next team to beat Golden State.
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The Anthony Davis-to-Boston rumors have circled around the NBA ether for years, but Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discuss the possibility of the Pelicans star landing with the Lakers. Of course, several events have to take place in order for Davis to land in L.A., but that didn't slow this discussion. The constant effort to challenge the Warriors has spawned super teams all over the NBA, and the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast offers up yet another. 

Check out the full episode here and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. (The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity).

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Andrew Sharp: Marcos says, ‘I know it’s way too early, but every time anyone talks about a possible trade for Anthony Davis, they only mention the Celtics because nobody can compete with a package of Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the unprotected Sacramento pick. I know this is a big if, but if the Lakers end up with LeBron and Paul George and the Pelicans decide to trade Anthony Davis, L.A. could offer Ingram, Kuzma, Ball, Hart, picks and filler for A.D. What package would you prefer if you were the Pelicans GM? And is there a better trio to fight Golden State than LeBron, Paul George and Anthony Davis?’ What’s your reaction, Ben?

Ben Golliver: My first reaction would be there’s like six ifs in one paragraph. That’s a red flag because that means you’re asking me to take three or four steps away from reality in sequential order.

Sharp: No, no, no. You know what I’m asking you to do? I’m asking you to take a couple steps back and just look at the chessboard. All the pieces are out there. The moves are just waiting to be made, OK? I’m asking you to stay woke on what’s really coming in L.A.

Golliver: The problem is that Marcos used a laser pointer to knife half of the chess pieces off the board so they don’t exist anymore. It’s not a real chess game here. In terms of his question, I think this is a fundamental preference. Let’s say you did have LeBron and Paul George, would you prefer to have all those young players making sure you have a full rotation set around those two guys? Or would you rather have Anthony Davis? The thing is, if you have those three big salaries it’s going to be slim pickings from players four through 10 or 11 in your rotation. I think you can make a pretty strong argument given what we’ve seen the last couple years in Cleveland where the depth gets tested really quick and they don’t have enough behind their top three guys until recently.

You might prefer the deeper approach; you might not want more than two max-level players on the same team if you’re trying to compete with Golden State. Now, that is not what Marcos wants to hear because Marcos wants to dream big and he wants to imagine Anthony Davis, LeBron and Paul George just wreaking havoc. But when you construct it that way, you’re taking on five or six guys on veteran minimum contracts who are going to have to play for you, and you probably have your pick of those aging vets because everyone would want to be in L.A. with these amazing stars. But I think you’re really increasing your instability much more than you would think if you pursued that route.


Sharp: I hear what you’re saying, but I think you might be over basketball nerd-ing it on this one. You could make an argument that the Pelicans would want to just go extremely young and get a top five or top 10 pick from the Kings if they’re going to tear it down. Ingram looks like he’s more likely to be a star than Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. No shots at Celtics nation. Sorry.

Golliver: That’s going to be a red headline.

Sharp: All I’m saying is that I think there is one reason that I am skeptical of Anthony Davis to Boston. It’s just because things rarely play out as we expect them to, especially when you look two or three years in advance. And I feel like everybody has been calling A.D. to Boston for so long, and that’s just not the way the NBA has worked over the last five or 10 years. Generally, people think they know exactly how things are going to happen, and then summer arrives and someone just picks up the chessboard and flips it over and everything gets turned upside down. And I think that could really happen in L.A. Magic and Pelinka, as I’ve said on this podcast a couple times, are much smarter than people realize. This is in play.

Every time people say the Celtics have the best package for Anthony Davis, it is technically incorrect because the Lakers have just as good a package to throw at New Orleans, and I think the main thing is going to be if the Pelicans miss the playoffs,  does everyone down there just keep their jobs and keep it status quo? Because if that’s the case I don’t think they trade A.D. The only way he moves is if there is a full-on regime change and New Orleans hires someone like Sam Hinkie to just come in and clean house and build from the ground up.

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Golliver: This proves my point about you and the consensus because I think you were one of the first people saying Anthony Davis to the Celtics. Now that you’ve convinced other people to say it you want to run in a different direction. I totally get that reaction from you because the Lakers package is pretty solid. I guess I was looking at it for the Lakers standpoint. Do you want to take on this big three model where those three salaries are going to be just huge.

One other question I have for you about Davis to the Lakers: Do you agree with me that Anthony Davis has probably the least charisma of any top 10 player in the NBA? It’d be hard to sell him. We talk about how much we’ve love to be on Giannis Inc. I mean, A.D. Inc., there’s a lot of open seats on that board right now. They’ve milked that eyebrow far more than they can. They’ve taken it every direction. I’m sure his environment down there in New Orleans doesn’t help things as far as the national stage because he’s not getting the primetime minutes and all that, but personality-wise, story-wise, do we even know this guy? He’s been in the league for five years and feels like kind of a blank slate. And I think he likes it that way. Does he want to be in L.A.? Does he want to be a Laker like so many of these guys do?

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Sharp: The point on his personality is fair. If you go across the top 10 players, Kawhi has very little charisma but he’s almost so stoic that it’s become a bankable brand, whereas Anthony Davis no one has heard him speak in the last five years. I’m sure a lot of mainstream fans just don’t care about him. I would add, though, that Anthony Davis had 38 and 10 against Detroit and that’s why you make the deal for Anthony Davis. That’s why you don’t worry about filling out the bottom half of your rotation because he is ridiculous. And if we’re being real, the next team to beat the Warriors is the team that beats Anthony Davis. That’s why I think it’s in play for the Lakers. And you wouldn’t necessarily have to give up all of those young players. I just want the Lakers to keep Ingram. They probably have to give up Ingram in that deal, but they are a factor.

Golliver: I think what you need to do right now is say the Lakers can get Anthony Davis for Josh Hart and a first-round pick. You know, Serena Winters just made a big move from Lakers Nation to Portland, she does a great job, but that’s an open slot. I think you could maybe slide in as a Lakers Nation writer, maybe Forum Blue and Gold could get you a guest column. I don’t know exactly what you’re angling for here in terms of this pro-Laker propaganda you’re trying to throw out.

Sharp: Everyone for the last nine months has asked why LeBron would ever want to go to the Lakers, or play with Lonzo, or play in the West. If the Lakers trade for Anthony Davis, suddenly this gets a lot realer. This makes more sense than people want to admit, I guess is what I’m trying to say. It’s the kind of thing that is very easy to make fun of on Twitter, but if a couple things fall into place it could get very real very quickly.