In a little more than two years, the Los Angeles Lakers have gone from champs to chumps. The team is off to a historically bad start to the 2022-23 season, currently sitting at 2-9 and showing no signs that a turnaround is coming. However, an Anthony Davis Bulls trade could make sense, as could a Knicks trade.
Reports indicated that the Lakers would wait 20 games before deciding if they need to make a trade involving Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to make roster upgrades.
If the losses continue to pile up though, then maybe trading future assets to try to fix this roster isn’t the move. It appears those are the conversations taking place in the Lakers’ front office right now and it seems that no option is off the table.
That includes pivoting and being sellers, planning for the future. If that is the case, then the Lakers’ only real trade piece is Anthony Davis.
LeBron James is ineligible to be traded until next summer due to the extension he signed, so that option is off the table.
Knowing how close James and Davis are, and the fact that Davis helped deliver a championship to the organization in 2020, would L.A. really consider trading their star big man? I lean towards no here. I just don’t see it happening due to the Klutch ties.
If the losses continue to pile up though then they may feel the need to make drastic changes. And given Davis’ injury history, it may be best to deal him sooner rather than later to maximize the potential return. So with that being said, here are some potential packages the Lakers could pursue if they decide to trade Davis.
Knicks- RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and three first-rounders for AD
The New York Knicks immediately came to mind when thinking of Davis packages considering they had interest in him when the Lakers traded for him in 2019 and they are known to be star-hunting with their million first-round picks after falling short in the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes.
A package such as this one would give the Lakers four quality young players in Barrett, Robinson, Toppin and Grimes along with some future draft capital, which the organization sorely lacks right now.
That would give the Lakers more depth in the present while also having a ton of assets and cap space they can use to build a team around James next summer.
Bulls- Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams and three first-rounders for AD
The Chicago Bulls also make sense as a potential landing spot for Davis considering that is his hometown. If the Lakers do not want to completely sever ties with Klutch, then sending Davis to a desirable destination would go a long way.
Vucevic is in the midst of another quality season and would provide the Lakers with some much-needed shooting. The four-time All-Star is also on an expiring contract, which would open up even more cap space for the Lakers next summer.
Williams is a former lottery pick that still has a lot of upside at 21 years of age, plus we all know that the Lakers can use wing defenders.
Grizzlies- Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks and three first-rounders for AD
The Memphis Grizzlies have done a nice job of putting quality young talent around Ja Morant, but how far is that going to take them?
If they feel they need to add another superstar alongside Morant to reach that next level then Davis is a perfect fit for Memphis.
Jackson has had his injury issues just like Davis but is still just 23 years of age and is tremendously talented. He’s a piece you can build around for years to come, plus L.A. could recoup some draft capital.
Nets- Kevin Durant for AD and first-rounder
This would be the biggest move of the bunch, obviously, although it would depend on how the Brooklyn Nets’ season plays out.
It’s no secret that Durant requested a trade this past offseason and despite canvassing the league, the Nets could not find a deal to their liking.
As turmoil continues in Brooklyn, is it possible Durant goes back to the front office and asks to be traded again ahead of the deadline?
And if so, would the Nets prefer to go into a rebuild, acquiring a bevy of picks and young players? Or would they want to continue competing moving forward by acquiring another superstar talent almost on the level of Durant’s?
If the latter is true then Brooklyn likely wouldn’t be able to acquire a player on Davis’ level so this package has to be appealing to them. They would also be getting one of the Lakers’ 2027 or 2029 first-rounders, which has a ton of value as it would likely be in the post-LeBron and Durant era.
But a team with James and Durant on it with a ton of cap space this summer would be extremely enticing if you’re the Lakers. This would unquestionably be the best route for them to go, although again, it obviously depends on how things go in Brooklyn the next couple of months.