It wasn’t going to matter, not at the trade deadline. Whatever the Lakers threw in an offer for Anthony Davis back in February, sources with knowledge of the Pelicans thinking told me: 1) Upper management/ownership there didn’t want to feel bullied into trading Davis at the deadline, they wanted to do it at their own pace; 2) they don’t love the Lakers’ young players, they think there are better offers out there. So no deal.
The question still hangs out there: What did the Lakers offer? Rumors had the Lakers offering every young player on their roster — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma — a couple of picks, and everything except the Jerry West statue in front of Staples Center. Don’t believe it, Laker owner Jennie Buss said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report).
There is likely a combination of truth and narrative control going on here. Among Laker fans, there was a sense of surprise and near embarrassment that the Pelicans kept shooting down whatever offers were made, kind of a “why don’t they like our guys?” line of thinking. This comment can ease some of that.
The most credible rumors I heard through this was the Lakers offered a variety of packages, different combinations of players and picks, for Davis. The idea was to give options to New Orleans, some packages could help more in the short term, there were more total rebuild style offers. None of them intrigued the Pelicans enough, and there may not have been a “kitchen sink” offer made. Even if there had been it likely would not have mattered.
The Lakers are by no means out of the Davis sweepstakes. Depending on what happens in the draft lottery and what happens in the playoffs — particularly in the top half of the Eastern Conference — the offers other teams can make and the players available in free agency can change. For example, if Kyrie Irving leaves Boston as a free agent, what the Celtics will offer for Davis changes and may be less enticing.
It’s going to be a wild, unpredictable summer, and the Lakers are going to be in the middle of all of it.