Five months after the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers officially traded for Anthony Davis.
While the Lakers traded their entire young core except for Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks for Davis, he fulfills the team’s short- and long-term goals for the Lakers now.
As Davis waived his $4 million trade kicker to re-establish the team’s max-contract slot in free agency, LeBron James gifted his No. 23 jersey to him for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Unfortunately, James will continue to wear No. 23 for the Lakers heading into Year 2 due to the financial hit Nike would take, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
But due to production issues and the massive financial hit Nike would have absorbed from the No. 23 James inventory that’s already been produced, Nike could not accommodate the request for this season, sources said.
As a result, Davis announced he will wear No. 3 in his first season with the Lakers alongside James, via Instagram:
Although the NBA’s deadline to make a jersey change is March 15, they would have allowed it if the Lakers were able to work it out with Nike. However, the manufacturer had already produced a lot of No. 23 James inventory.
While it was a nice gesture by James to welcome Davis to Los Angeles, the focus shifts to winning championships. Despite there being parity in the league for the first time in five seasons, they are arguably the best duo if healthy.
Along with having two All-Star players, general manager Rob Pelinka deserves credit for surrounding them with good players despite waiting on Kawhi Leonard’s decision.
Although it may take time to build chemistry with seven new players including Davis, the Lakers should be favored to win it all for the next 2-3 seasons — at the very least now.