Since James did not feel well at shootaround, he eventually responded to the report after his third triple-double (22 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists) of the 2018-19 NBA season.
James doubled down on his comments about Davis and mentioned every other All-Star player he could think of, according to Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation:
“Ask me if I would like to play with Kevin Durant. Ask me right now,” James said. “Absolutely,” he answered when posed with the possibility.
“Ask me if I would like to play with Jimmy Butler. Ask me right now,” James continued. “Absolutely.
“Ask me about Kyrie Irving, Giannis. Ask me about Embiid, Ben Simmons, go ahead. All of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on, guys. It’s not rocket science. These are great players. I would love to play with a lot of great players.
“That’s just who I am. People get caught up in bunches and wish they could control what you say. And they can’t control me. At all. And I play by the rules.”
Through 30 games, there have been numerous instances of executives talking about other players. However, with the best player in the league right now joining one of the best sports franchises, it is not surprising some general managers are acting this way.
Armed with a young core and a projected $38 million in cap space, the Lakers have numerous options to improve their roster via trade or free agency. As Davis has an uncertain future with the Pelicans, the Lakers could put together an attractive trade package for him.
While the Pelicans have consistently said they will not trade Davis, he could force his way to Los Angeles. With two years remaining on his five-year, $145 million deal, the best route for any small market team is to trade for assets instead of losing an All-Star player for nothing.