The Lakers-Pelicans trade deadline debacle seems like a distant memory now, particularly in light of all the free agency madness that has swept across the league in the past week or so. Anthony Davis is a Laker, and alongside LeBron James, they comprise one of the league’s most formidable duos.
They were hoping, of course, to turn that duo into a trio this offseason by landing one of top-flight free agents who was set to hit the market when the moratorium period opened on June 30. Specifically, they had their sights set on Kawhi Leonard, but all of that came crumbling down last Friday when the enigmatic forward signed with the Clippers and somehow helped orchestrate the Paul George trade in the process.
It was yet another hit to the Lakers’ ego as one of the NBA’s prestige organizations, not to mention their championship prospects, as suddenly the team across the hall had cemented themselves as the odds-on favorites to win the title next season. Another ancillary effect came to Davis’ pocketbook. According to his agent Rich Paul (who is also LeBron’s agent), Davis had agreed to waive his lucrative $4 million trade kicker so that the front office would have more financial flexibility in free agency.
Here’s what Paul said during a recent appearance on the SiriusXM NBA appearance, transcript courtesy of The Big Lead:
“Anthony wanted to do what’s best for the team. They had to create cap space knowing that [when] they went out to get him that the depth chart would be pretty scarce. Here we are again as athletes. You can’t have it both ways. The media says well you know what? If you want all your money you’re greedy.”
“Or when you want more money than they think you’re worth, they say you’re greedy,” he continued. “When you want to take less, like in this case he wanted to do what was best for the team because he’s only been in the playoffs two years.”
As a consolation, the Lakers have been forced into Plan B once again, signing retreads like Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to shore up their remaining roster spots. But they’ve also made some more intriguing moves to add Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and DeMarcus Cousins, if the latter is able to stay healthy and regain some of that form that once made him one of the league’s best big men.
Regardless, the Lakers are a Big 2 this season instead of a Big 3, which if you take a glance around the league, might be the way things are trending as we approach the close of this decade.