It may have taken five months, but the New Orleans Pelicans officially traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers where he will get to play with LeBron James.
As Davis looked up to James and Michael Jordan growing up, there is a narrative about players not wanting to play with the 34-year-old. It initially started when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers despite one championship in three straight NBA Finals appearances.
Since then, Paul George decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder and most recently, Kawhi Leonard decided to team up with him on the Los Angeles Clippers.
However for the 26-year-old, he is embracing becoming James’ teammate since they ‘have been friends for a long time,’ according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“We’re excited to play with each other on a team, go out here and compete,” Davis said. “It’s something that’s special and it’s something that we definitely want to make sure we take advantage of while we’re both here.”
As Davis has not had much playoff success in his seven seasons, James knows what it takes after winning three championships in eight straight NBA Finals appearances:
“Obviously there are some other great teams around the league, but winning a championship is not easy,” Davis said. “It’s very difficult. He knows that. I haven’t been down that path, but hopefully this year he can lead me down that path and we can win.”
For the two All-Star players, there appears to be a perfect balance between them. As James is nearing the end of his career, Davis is just entering the prime years of his career.
With James needing Davis to win another championship, the latter can learn what it takes to win at a high level from the former and establish himself as the next face.
Although the Lakers had to trade their entire young core except for Kyle Kuzma for Davis, he fulfills the team’s short- and long-term goals. While Davis will become a free agent, all indications are he will sign a contract extension.
Despite Kawhi Leonard not signing with the Lakers, they are in a good position now where Davis could lead them once James retires and for perhaps the next 6-7 seasons.