The Anthony Davis trade saga is a little over a week in and the Lakers remain at the top of his list of preferred teams. The conversations between Los Angeles and the Pelicans have reportedly stalled with New Orleans's asking price a bit too steep. Los Angeles reportedly offered two first-rounders in addition to Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
On the latest on The Crossover podcast, Chris Mannix and Rohan Nadkarni debate whether Anthony Davis instantly makes the Lakers title contenders.
(Listen to the latest Crossover podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Rohan Nadkarni: LeBron and Anthony Davis on the same team is a title contender. Let me take you out of that bubble for a second. You put those two guys together and guess what? That team is competing to either make the Conference Finals out of the West and if they win that series, they are going to be the title favorites.
Chris Mannix: What are you talking about?
Nadkarni: You keep dropping that Anthony Davis and LeBron James together is not an automatic title contender. Did you see the team LeBron took to the Finals last year? LeBron and Anthony Davis together in any scenario is a title contender.
Mannix: It’s not in any scenario because you have to flesh out the roster.
Nadkarni: Give LeBron and Anthony Davis—Rodney Hood, George Hill and Kyle Korver and it’s a title contender.
Mannix: Okay but can they get any of those guys?
Nadkarni: Yes, they can get the equivalent of those guys, that’s my point. You need to just dial-back. I know I have been gone for a couple weeks and you had your buddy [Brian] Scalabrine on. The Pats won so you are feeling yourself a little bit right now. I get it but let me bring you back down to reality. LeBron and Anthony Davis together on any on this planet is a title contender.
Mannix: Oh my God. What am I even listening to right now? LeBron was in the Eastern Conference the last few years, let’s take that into account. In the Western Conference—they are going to have to go against Golden State, even without Durant they are still…
Nadkarni: Tell me which team in the West outside of Golden State?
Nadkarni: I love Denver. I picked Denver to make the freaking NBA Finals but I am not taking the Nuggets over the hypothetical LeBron and Anthony Davis team.
Mannix: Oklahoma City.
Nadkarni: Look at the Thunder! Perfect example. None of their other guys are special. Steven Adams is a very good player. Terrence Ferguson is also starting for them.
Mannix: They have drafted well over the last few years.
Mannix: You are not concerned about the recent injury to LeBron? This was the longest time he has been out with an injury and I am not going to read too much into yet but somebody brought it up to me that this is how it started with Kobe too. Like with the nagging injuries and the stuff that starts to get to you. Maybe it is just a bump on the road but at some point, LeBron James is going to regress. Before anyone jumps on me, he is still a great player who elevates players around him like no player I have ever seen. That’s a given. But he is going to be 35-years-old next season if Anthony Davis winds up there. You are not concerned at all about that being a factor? 35-year-old LeBron James and Anthony Davis as your title contender.
Nadkarni: I am a little bit concerned but more-so in the long-term but not in the immediate future. Give me Anthony Davis and put him together with LeBron and that’s a title contender. Those teams always get fleshed out that’s the thing for some reason you are glossing over but they will get guys.
Mannix: But they don’t always get fleshed out. That is a ridiculous statement. They don’t always get fleshed out because the Washington Wizards haven’t’ been able to do it…
Nadkarni: Don’t compare…
Mannix: They don’t have a LeBron player but at one point, John Wall was an elite top-five point guard—Bradley Beal is an elite top-two shooting guard and they have been discussed as the best backcourt in the NBA.
Nadkarni: By who! Because those people are idiots.
Mannix: The reason Golden State was able to do what they did is that they were smart with who they drafted, they got Draymond Green in the second-round. Harrison Barnes was a lottery pick but that was a smart one. They were strewed with their drafting and their deals. The Lakers have a very short window to do that with LeBron James on the team. I just don’t buy that just the two of them makes that team a championship contender.