The trade deadline is behind us, but some of the skeletons are still coming out of the closet.
In the Anthony Davis trade talks, the end result has us all wondering if the Pelicans were ever really serious about making a deal with L.A. Their asking price was absurd, there were reports of the team not reaching out to the Lakers after their latest offer, and something just seemed off about the whole ordeal.
That’s because something was off. In a shocking reveal by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, he explained that the Pelicans were just playing games with Magic Johnson and the Lakers in trade talks as payback for tampering earlier in the year.
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said “it’s not just possible, it’s what happened.” 👀 pic.twitter.com/wki2hDPaEs
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 7, 2019
By having the Lakers’ players continually involved in trade rumors, the chemistry and mood of the team overall (especially the young core) had to be affected. It showed on Monday night, when the Lakers, even with LeBron on the court and healthy, lost by 42 points to an Indiana Pacers squad playing without their best player, Victor Oladipo. That night was capped off with “Bron’s gonna trade you” chants to Brandon Ingram during one trip to the free-throw line.
So if what the Pelicans were seeking was revenge, they have definitely played a hand in creating what has become a very dysfunctional locker room of late for the Lakers.
But if Thursday night’s buzzer-beating victory against the Celtics showed anything, it’s that this L.A. team shouldn’t be counted out just yet. And when negotiations pick up again this summer, something says the Lakers will be a little less inclined to play ball with an obviously grudge-filled New Orleans’ locker-room.