The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off the major move they needed to do this offseason as they traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
The move has set the franchise up very well to make another big move this offseason once free agency starts.
Of course, the Lakers weren’t the only team looking to deal for Davis as the Boston Celtics had long been rumored as a potential landing spot. Davis’ agent Rich Paul reportedly told the Celtics that Davis would not re-sign with them but that didn’t halt their desire to pull off a trade.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Celtics and Pelicans discussed the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the lack of a high pick in the 2019 NBA Draft hurt their chances at pulling off a deal:
The Boston Celtics were serious about trading for Davis, as well. They were willing to discuss young, talented players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, according to sources close to the negotiations. But the Celtics were never going to give up as much as the Lakers. And Boston didn’t have a high draft pick this year to offer, because it simply hadn’t gotten as lucky in the lottery as both L.A. and New Orleans.
With no guarantee of Davis returning and being outright told he wouldn’t, it would’ve been crazy for the Celtics to offer as much as the Lakers did and their lack of lottery luck removed a potential big piece they could’ve offered.
Another team interested in Davis were the Denver Nuggets, who had the second-best record in the Western Conference during the 2018-19 NBA season. But according to Mike Singer of Denver Post, the Pelicans wanted Jamal Murray in any deal which immediately halted talks:
Furthermore, the Pelicans insisted that any potential deal for Davis had to include Nuggets rising star Jamal Murray. That was a non-starter for the Nuggets, who a month ago finished their most successful season in a decade.
A frontcourt of Davis and Nikola Jokic would have been an absolutely scary sight but in the end, no team was willing to risk as much as the Lakers and with good reason. The Lakers had no option but to get this deal done and they did.
Other teams may have had discussions but none were as desperate as the Lakers who — for the second summer in a row — landed their top target.