AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.
The Los Angeles Lakers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but they reportedly aren’t yet prepared to try something radical like trading Anthony Davis.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported at the 1:15:11 mark on the newest episode of his podcast, “I’ve been told in no uncertain terms [Davis] is not getting traded.”
Los Angeles’ 2020 championship never happens if the team doesn’t acquire Davis. During the title run, he averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor.
The last two seasons, however, have raised concerns about whether Davis can still be the centerpiece for a franchise with championship ambitions. He has logged only 76 appearances and failed to take the symbolic baton from LeBron James as L.A.’s No. 1 option.
Since the 2019-20 season, Davis is averaging 22.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 blocks. More concerning, the impressive shooting he displayed in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble hasn’t carried over (22.9 percent on threes).
That production simply isn’t good enough for a player with Davis’ abilities.
The dilemma for the Lakers is that the eight-time All-Star is their best trade asset, yet there’s probably no scenario in which they’re better off in the short term by dealing him. Sure, they could replenish their draft capital, but exchanging a player as good as Davis for picks isn’t going to fly as long as James is on the roster.
Plenty of other organizations around the NBA would obviously love to have Davis on their roster, so the last few years shouldn’t skew his overall value.
But it seems clear Los Angeles has hit its ceiling while building around him and James. L.A. gave up a lot to get AD in the first place, and it sacrificed most of its remaining depth in the Russell Westbrook trade.
Now, the Lakers are a top-heavy squad leaning on one star who’s beginning to show his age and another who struggles to stay healthy for a full season. That’s not a winning combination.
Yet as bleak as the team’s outlook is at the moment, it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Davis is on the move this offseason.