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On Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Los Angeles Lakers‘ offers to the New Orleans Pelicans for six-time All-Star big man Anthony Davis had not even merited a response:
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Sources: In pursuit of All-NBA star Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans have not been worth countering or responding for Pelicans. Lakers’ deals have included Rajon Rondo or Lance Stephenson as core parts of proposals — along with a couple of key young players.
However, Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that the Pels “are considering making a counteroffer that would ask for two first-round picks and add a Pelicans player to the deal, according to people with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.”
Turner also reported that the Lakers emailed five trade offers to the Pels on Wednesday. Per Turner, one of them involved point guard Lonzo Ball, forwards Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, center Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick for Davis.
The Lakers’ picks don’t look particularly appealing. Los Angeles has all of its future first-round selections, but a James-Davis tandem would almost certainly make the Lakers a playoff team, thereby preventing any potential lottery picks for New Orleans.
As of now, the Lakers are just two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot. If Davis hypothetically jumped on board before the Thursday trade deadline, he could help make up that ground fairly easily.
Of course, it’s not impossible for a team to strike gold outside the lottery. The Lakers themselves did so with the promising Kuzma, who was the 27th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He’s averaging 18.9 points per game this year.
The bigger key is whether Pels general manager Dell Demps can unload some salary, which he seemingly wants to do here.
But the most important note of all is the Lakers are seemingly willing to part with the four 25-and-under players on their team with the most potential. That gives Demps some intriguing options, as he already has some solid talent on his roster with Jrue Holiday, ex-Laker Julius Randle, forward Nikola Mirotic and rejuvenated center Jahlil Okafor.
In other words, if the Pels find a way to get that core Lakers four plus the two L.A. draft picks, New Orleans may be in good shape.