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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Should the Los Angeles Lakers trade Anthony Davis?


The Los Angeles Lakers are facing quite a conundrum.

At 2-8, the squad has far more problems than it does wins, and while Russell Westbrook seems to have found an invigorated fervor in his bench role, L.A.’s porous defense, horrific shooting woes and LeBron James’ newfound slump has it sitting on the league’s bottom shelf.

The team’s current predicament is so perplexing that rumors have surfaced surrounding the Lakers’ willingness to trade superstar Anthony Davis.

It’s a reality that’s nearly impossible to fathom for Nick Wright. 

“Before the year, I said the roster as presently constituted cannot win,” Wright reflected Tuesday on “First Things First.” “Check the tape, I said ‘look at that schedule, you might start 2-8, and at 2-8, you might’ve dug yourself too big of a hole.’ Well, I woke up this morning, they’re 2-8, and we’re talking about trading Anthony Davis!”

Wright argued that if the Lakers should be trading any player, it needs to be Westbrook.

“I didn’t think that Russell Westbrook would still be on the team at this point in the year,” he said. “I thought they would realize ‘uh oh, the team’s broken, we have one way to drastically change the roster. We committed to LeBron, we were wiling to do that when he agreed to his extension.’ And now they’re not doing it, and now they’re 2-8. What I didn’t think of is they’d get to 2-8 and be like ‘hmm, should we trade the only long-term valuable piece we have?’

“Now, if you trade him for another top-15 player that just fits more, I’m OK with it. But if it’s ‘we’re trading Anthony Davis because we just need some more draft picks and young prospects to go along with Year 20 LeBron … at some point, Nike is going have to reconsider the LeBron vs. Father Time campaign unless LeBron starts winning some reps. Rob Pelinka’s big move this offseason was what? Bring in Lonnie Walker? Letting Malik Monk – the only good move they made the previous offseason – go? And the Lakers now are like ‘OK, we’re not going to be able to shoot, we’re going to be great defensively.’ Who was it that hung 140 on them last night? This is a series of disastrous decisions that have led to a place of where they’re holding meetings of ‘should we trade Anthony Davis?’ No, you should find a way to get the most out of Anthony Davis, and surround him with complementary pieces that are going to allow you to win a title, like you had three years ago.

Chris Broussard was of the opposite opinion.

“I think they should be looking to trade AD,” he argued. “I’m not saying shop him. I’m not saying put it out there, ‘hey AD’s available.’ I’m not saying get rid of him just to get off his money. But I’m making calls.

“I would trade Anthony Davis for Damian Lillard, straight up. Right now, you might say Lillard’s better. But here’s the thing for Portland: Damian is 32, AD actually fits their timeline more than Damian does. They’re young. … If I’m Portland, [I consider it]. Can I throw out a Nets one? Kyrie [Irving], Ben Simmons and Joe Harris for AD and Russ.”

Davis is currently averaging 23.2 points, 10.3 boards, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 steals per game in 34.6 minutes this season.

He is one of just six NBA players to average 20-plus PPG, 7.5-plus RPG and 1.5-plus BPG in nine seasons, joining the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan.

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