With the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline finally over, several teams in the Eastern Conference put themselves in position to truly make a run at the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Toronto Raptors all made trades for impact players and each has a legitimate shot to make it out of their conference.
However, all the drama surrounding the trade deadline concerned Anthony Davis as the New Orleans Pelicans had been fielding offers for the 25-year-old. The Pelicans opted to keep Davis for the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season, thus leaving teams like the Los Angeles Lakers out in the cold.
Despite missing out on being paired with a second All-Star player, LeBron James seemed unfazed at this stage of his career, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times:
“[There’s] nothing I need to get in this league that I don’t already have,” James said. “So, everything else for me is just like icing on the cake. Even though I love the process of everything that I go through to be able to compete every single night and put teams in position to compete for championships, there’s nothing that I’m chasing or that I feel I need to end my career on.”
The Lakers reportedly made several offers to trade for Davis, but the Pelicans seemed unwilling given they will have more suitors in the offseason. Los Angeles will likely reengage New Orleans around the 2019 NBA Draft or free agency, but teams like the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics may already have more appealing offers.
Even though James signed a four-year, $154 million deal, there is a sense of urgency to acquire another All-Star player to help carry the purple and gold to another championship. It can be argued the Lakers are currently not a frontrunner for any of the All-Stars set to hit free agency, so trading Davis may be their best option.
It remains to be seen how much patience James will have if the Lakers once again fail to trade for Davis or sign a free agent. For now, however, they must right the ship and close the season strong if they hope to end their five-year playoff drought.