On one hand, the Anthony Davis trade brought the Lakers a Championship in 2020. On the other, Davis has hardly been available since then -- in what has been some of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.
Davis, 29, has played in just 75 games over the past two years. Despite his talent, questions are starting to surface about his value as a player and long-term future as a Laker.
On ESPN's 'Get Up!' on Monday, NBA legend Magic Johnson was the latest to speak on the star big man and his compromised availability.
"AD, you gotta change, whatever it is, you gotta stay healthy," said Magic. "Or, the Lakers gotta say 'man, after next season if you don't stay healthy,' they gotta look at you and say 'you should be somewhere else.' Because they need you on the court, not in your clothes sitting on the bench."
Davis is a world-class player, but the Lakers can't afford to wait on his body. At 37-years-old, LeBron James is on his final stretch, and there is no telling how much longer he has left as an NBA elite. And, without James, the franchise has no real hope of competing for a title.
If you're Rob Pelinka or Jeanie Buss, why not trade Davis for a more consistent and reliable star?
Amid all the noise, AD issued a response. In his clever statement to the world, he managed to deflect the blame by reminding the world that he can't be pinned for things out of his control.
“So, what the [expletive] do you want me to do? When I play, it’s a problem. It’s a problem when I don’t play. At the end of the day, I’ve got to do what’s best for me and how my body feels. And we go from there. I’m not worried about who’s saying what or who thinks this about me because none of them have stepped on the floor and played. And the ones that did play, they should understand.
The reality is, a healthy Anthony Davis wouldn't have the Lakers fighting for a play-in spot. They'd be securely in place to compete.
This season, it may already be too late. But next season brings new opportunities, and it may be time to shake things up.
At this point, only the Lakers front office really has any clue.