The Los Angeles Lakers’ horrendous season will come to an end on Sunday. The roster needs serious overhaul, but they are limited in what they can do. They have no draft capital or young assets that would be attractive to other teams. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the only players that would command big returns. There is no official word on either being on the trade block, and Davis isn’t listening to rumors.
“I can’t control those things,” Davis told ESPN after the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, which eliminated L.A. from play-in tournament contention. “That’s an upstairs thing. A Klutch, Rich Paul thing. My agency. I mean, my job is to go out and play basketball. Obviously I love it in L.A. If that’s something that they’re considering, then we’ll have a conversation about it. I don’t know what they’re talking about, what’s the plan.”
If the Lakers want to improve they need younger talent on team-friendly deals and draft picks. The only way they can acquire that is by trading LeBron and/or Davis.
Russell Westbrook and his $47 million player option will be difficult to move. If the Lakers are able to move him, what do they realistically think they’ll be able to get in return? It only takes one franchise, but what franchise with any players of value would move said players to take Westbrook on?
The Lakers could decide to stand pat and hope that Davis and LeBron are healthier next season. Hoping or wishing for better injury luck is not a plan. We know the best predictor of future injury is previous injury. That’s not a good sign.
“My job is to be on the basketball floor and play games,” Davis said. “When I’m healthy, I’m a motherf—er. But I got to stay healthy. Unfortunately it was two injuries I couldn’t control this year, but I’ll be back at it next year and see what happens.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old Davis is a 7-foot two-way wrecking ball. Any team that has the capital, talent, and matching salary can talk themselves into trading for him. He’s under contract for two more seasons.
If the Lakers do want to move Davis, his agent Rich Paul and Klutch will be involved. Which means by extension LeBron will be involved. Despite his posturing otherwise, no move of this magnitude will be discussed or advanced to application without LeBron’s signoff.
LeBron will be 38 next season. The championship window looks like it’s shut for him. But if he wants even a minuscule chance with the Lakers, that roster will have to get younger and more athletic.
At this stage Davis knows what the deal is. When you force your way onto a LeBron-led team, what he says goes. Regardless of how good you are as a player.
“I mean, I don’t think they’re planning on doing anything [with me],” Davis said. “I don’t know, man. F—, I don’t know.”
All eyes will be on Los Angeles this summer as they look to rebound from this disastrous season.