Heading into the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly looking for a second All-Star player and/or three-point shooters.
At 26-24 and two games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are cautious of the team’s projected $38 million in cap space for 2019 free agency.
Since there are conflicting reports about Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson, the Lakers have consistently been linked to Anthony Davis via trade, who reportedly ‘stands atop’ their wish list.
While Davis reportedly was not going to request a trade in order to make a ‘full evaluation’ during the offseason, agent Rich Paul informed the New Orleans Pelicans about the 25-year-old’s future, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports has informed the New Orleans Pelicans that All-NBA forward Anthony Davis won’t sign a contract extension and has requested a trade, Paul told ESPN on Monday morning.
With Davis officially requesting a trade, the Lakers will need to be aggressive:
This is an opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to be aggressive in offering a package for Davis before Boston’s inclusion into talks. Paul also represents Lakers star LeBron James, and the Lakers have been determined to acquire Davis in a deal, league sources said.
When Davis switched to LeBron James’ agent prior to the 2018-19 NBA season, there was speculation he would eventually request a trade. As James made controversial comments about wanting to play with Davis earlier in the season, the two reportedly had dinner after the Lakers defeated the Pelicans on Dec. 21.
Since the Pelicans will never get full value back for Davis under the circumstances, it will be interesting to see if they trade him at the deadline or wait until the offseason. For the Lakers, they can put together a solid package featuring their young core and draft picks.
While it would be difficult to part with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, and/or Lonzo Ball after rebuilding through the NBA Draft, Davis provides the Lakers with the perfect balance to win in the short- and long-term.