The Lakers can't wait.
They need to do everything they can to pull off a trade for Anthony Davis. Sooner rather than later, too. The team should feel a sense of urgency with the NBA draft and free agency about to begin. There's no guarantee that a marquee free agent will pick the Lakers in July, which puts even more pressure on the organization to put talent around LeBron James after missing the playoffs in 2019. They can't strike out on free agents and not make a splash trade. That just can't happen in Los Angeles and with LeBron's prime running down.
The Lakers need to put a championship contender on the floor next season. Imagine wasting two years of LeBron. While there are constant rumors about the Knicks landing a major star or two in free agency, there are currently way less rumors about the Lakers. And with Kyrie reportedly looking at the Nets, the pool of players is already shrinking.
That brings us to today and a new report from Shams, where he wrote that AD has narrowed down his desired long-term destinations to the Lakers and Knicks. This isn't a surprise, but it is a different list than he provided the Pelicans in February, which included the Knicks, Lakers, Bucks and Clippers. The change doesn't seem like much, but it does mean that the Lakers are still in it, despite the massive blunder made by Magic Johnson back during the trade deadline. They need to take advantage of this leverage that AD continues to give them in trade talks. He wants to be in LA. Go make it happen.
Magic, who resigned as Lakers team president in April, reportedly offered everything in the cupboard during those initial talks and ended up allienating the team's young core when a deal didn't go down. With Magic gone and the draft a little over a week away, Rob Pelinka and company need to figure out a way to get this done.
This is their real chance to put another star around LeBron. Yes, giving up the young core will take away some depth from the Lakers, but this is a star league and the Lakers run a real risk of striking out again if they can't get a deal done for Anthony Davis. If the young players were made about the trade talks the first time, imagine doing it all over again and still not getting the deal done. The Lakers locker room would be fractured beyond repair.
Of course, Magic isn't the only difference from today and February, with David Griffin now running the Pelicans. Griff, who won a championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, won't just give Anthony Davis away. That's just not the type of GM he is. He'll fight for the best deal, but will that deal come from the Lakers or Knicks? The question will really come down to if the Lakers will stop messing around and put an actual attractive offer on the table. Offer Lonzo. Offer Kuzma. Offer Brandon Ingram. Offer the 4th pick. Put it all on the table. Make the Pelicans realize that you're offering the best deal.
There's always the option that a mystery team may pop up and take a similar risk that the Toronto Raptors took last summer when they traded for Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi could very well leave Toronto this summer, but if they win a championship, who cares? It was all worth it. That is what Griff and company will have to work through.
Griff is going to get the best deal possible, and that's pretty clear. It's up to the Lakers to make sure that they're offering the best deal for Anthony Davis. He's worth it. It's time for the Lakers to go all-in. No more wasting LeBron or anyone else's time.