My thoughts on possible Anthony Davis trade

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

When coming up with ideas to write for my opinion piece, I initially thought of breaking down five men’s college basketball players who have the potential to be named Naismith Player of the Year at the end of the season.

It was basically going to be 500 or more words about how Duke’s Zion Williamson has proven to be more than just a dunker, RJ Barrett playing beyond his years and Grant Williams being a polarizing force for top-ranked Tennessee.

It wasn’t until I woke up on the morning of Jan. 28 and read All-Star forward Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans that I realized I had to change the topic of my column.

One of the biggest talks in the NBA over the last two years has been Anthony Davis leaving New Orleans and trying to join a contender. What was once a rumor and speculation can actually happen even before his free agency in 2020.

“Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” Davis’ agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”

Davis is eligible for a five-year $240 million dollar contract in the summer, but he and Paul have made it aware he doesn’t want a long-term career with the Pelicans.

Even though the Pelicans’ front office denied multiple times that they weren’t going to trade Davis, we knew it would happen at some point. It’s just a little shocking that the request is happening in the middle of the season instead of the summer.

Davis is 25 years old and arguably a top-five player in the NBA when healthy. He is averaging 29 points and 13 rebounds per game this season and shooting 50 percent from the floor. The Pelicans are 22-28 and ranked 13th in the Western Conference.

It’s clear that Davis doesn’t want to spend the prime years of his career on a Pelicans team, which makes the postseason or an eighth seed at best.

A player like Davis needs to be on a team that is going to contend for a title on a yearly basis.

Whenever Davis’ name would pop up in trade or free agency rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics were in the mix.

Unfortunately for Boston, they can’t make a move for Davis at the trade deadline due to the “Rose Rule,” which doesn’t allow the Celtics to acquire Davis until point guard Kyrie Irving signs an extension or goes elsewhere.

That said, don’t rule out the Celtics just yet, because a deal could happen in the summer. However, if a Davis trade is to happen now, the Lakers is a team that has the assets to get it done.

The Lakers have a roster with young talent that could be beneficial for the Pelicans down the road.

According to the Los Angeles Times, if the Lakers want Davis, they will have to start a deal that includes point guard Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first round draft pick.

The Lakers’ front office has talked about pairing a second superstar with LeBron James, whether in the offseason or the trade deadline. We’ve heard names like Kevin Durant, Davis, Kawhi Leonard and even Klay Thompson.

The Lakers should strongly consider trading for Davis even if it means letting go Ball and “The Big Baller Brand.” The only player that I would have a hard time trading if I was Magic Johnson would be Kyle Kuzma. Besides that, I would go all in for Davis.

The Lakers are sitting in ninth place in a crowded Western Conference. Acquiring Davis will help them compete against the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If the Lakers do acquire Davis, they will still have room to acquire another star during the offseason.

There’s no rush on New Orleans’ part to trade Davis since he’s under contract until 2020. That allows teams other than the Celtics and Lakers to figure what pieces need to be put in place to acquire Davis. Whether a trade happens at the Feb. 7 deadline or in the offseason, the landscape of the NBA will surely change because of it.