As the NBA Trade Deadline came closer, it became less and less likely that the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans would complete a deal for superstar Anthony Davis. Talks reportedly became ‘dormant’ between the two sides, with the Pelicans seemingly be fine with holding on to the All-Star for the remainder of the season.
Though the players have said otherwise, the Lakers’ play on the court has suffered as the trade rumors engulfed the team. There was a reported incident in the locker room and the team’s embarrassing loss to the Indiana Pacers only added to the questions.
As time has gone on, there have been questions about whether the Pelicans ever truly intended to deal Davis to the Lakers ahead of the deadline. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on “NBA: The Jump,” and suggested that New Orleans at the very least wanted to hang the Lakers out to dry:
“I don’t know if it was revenge so much. I don’t necessarily think they ghosted them, because the Pelicans have made two trades in the last 12 hours. They’ve moved onto other business. They’re doing other deals. They acquired Markieff Morris and traded Mirotic. I don’t think they intended to bring the Lakers to a 42-point loss, but there was definitely actions taken by the Pelicans in this to expose the Lakers a little bit. And I think the Lakers, frankly, were acting out of normal protocol as well with trade offers being leaked. There was leaking going on both sides here. There was not good-faith negotiations going on necessarily. I think that’s the best way to say it. I don’t think the Pelicans wanted to actively hurt the Lakers locker room, but I do think they wanted to jab them with the stick, and I think that’s what they did.”
There is very little doubt that, at least from the outside looking in, the Lakers haven’t looked great in these dealings. The rumors suggest that while they were constantly sending offers, the two sides rarely had actual communication, with the Pelicans barely responding.
After the deadline passed, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson flatly stated his belief that the Pelicans did not negotiate in ‘good faith.’
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