The Mega-Trade That Didn’t Happen & The Fallout of Failure
By Tyrone M. Eddins Jr.
This season’s NBA trade deadline came and went and while there were some intriguing moves made, the major move many of us were expecting to see never materialized. But it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. The Los Angeles Lakers went all in with their attempts to acquire NBA superstar Anthony Davis. Some people might say they went overboard. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka offered just about all their young talent, a few veteran players, and a slew of draft picks to New Orleans. A king’s ransom, for sure…but to no avail.
The Pelicans refused to bite, seemingly comfortable with waiting until this summer to worry about moving Davis. From the perspective of many NBA fans and pundits, the New Orleans Pelicans were never truly serious about moving Davis before the deadline despite the drama and rumors that preceded the negotiations. Leading up to the trade deadline, Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans via his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Anthony Davis is arguably the best big man in the NBA as well as one of the league’s top ten players, so a trade demand from him, as expected, sent shock waves reverberating across the NBA landscape. Shockwaves that resulted mass speculation and even the NBA fining the superstar $50k for his public trade demand.
There has also been plenty of fallout as a result of this move not happening, a wide-reaching ripple effect that has negatively impacted both the Pelicans and the Lakers. Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, said the Pelicans didn’t negotiate in good faith during their trade talks. Subsequent to the failed trade talks and a game that saw an injured Anthony Davis leave the Pelicans arena before the game’s conclusion, the Pelicans swiftly fired former GM Dell Demps. The Lakers have also suffered from this debacle with the morale of their roster apparently taking a huge hit after some of their players were offered up in the trade.
At this point, everyone is left wondering what both teams will do next. With just a few games left in the season, the Lakers are scrambling to recover their early season success with the hopes of locking down one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference. The Pelicans, not surprisingly, continue to mishandle Anthony Davis in truly odd fashion. We all wondered if they would shut him down or allow him to play. After the NBA threatened to fine the Pelicans $100k for breaking their “rest rule”, the team seems to have chosen a middle of the road approach. They currently play Davis about 20-25 minutes per game, but he no longer plays in the 4th quarters, when most games are decided. So, the other Pelicans players are forced try and win games at their most crucial point without their best player. And what about the Pelicans’ locker room? Anthony Davis is a good guy, no one questions that much, but how awkward is it to have him in that locker room night after night after his very public declaration that he no longer wants to be in New Orleans?
Adding yet another story line to this drama and contrary to earlier rumors that he is only interested in playing for the Lakers, Anthony Davis has reportedly said that he will consider playing for all teams. He can’t hit free agency until 2020, but at this point, it’s probably best for New Orleans to move him via trade to get maximum value in return.
In fact, this saga can’t come to an end soon enough for everyone involved. The sooner Davis can move on from New Orleans, be it to the Lakers or another destination, the sooner both teams can get back to the business of basketball. The Anthony Davis drama along with numerous other story lines that are waiting to play out promises that this year’s off-season will be almost as good as the season.