As the Los Angeles Lakers were still in the early stages of their rebuild, an opportunity arose to trade for Paul George. However, with George due to reach free agency in one year and all signs pointing to him signing with the Lakers, they stood pat instead of building a package around Brandon Ingram.
George was ultimately traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where one season was enough to convince him to re-sign on a max contract. He didn’t so much as grant the Lakers a meeting in free agency last summer.
Then prior to and after signing LeBron James, the Lakers were linked to Kawhi Leonard after he requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs. Again, L.A. opted to retain the likes of Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma.
There is also the factor of the Spurs being perceived as unwilling to deal with the Lakers. Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, and indications are the Lakers have fallen behind other teams in odds to sign him in 2019 free agency.
With Anthony Davis looking to separate from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers were said to be motivated in completing a trade before the Feb. 7 deadline.
Though, thus far their offers and approach in trade talks is being compared to the previous failed scenarios, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
These offers resemble the negotiating style that the Lakers employed in recent years in pursuit of Kawhi Leonard when he was with the Spurs and Paul George with the Pacers, league sources said.
Based on reports, the Lakers reportedly made Ball, Michael Beasley, Ingram, Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephen and Ivica Zubac available in a wide array of trade scenarios. None are believed to have enticed the Pelicans into substantial negotiations.
If the Lakers are unable to complete a trade for Davis before Thursday’s deadline, it will create an opportunity for the Boston Celtics to become involved this summer. The Lakers are believed to be hesitant to enter into a possible bidding war with their longtime rival for Davis.
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