The Los Angeles Lakers have suffered through a horrific season because even the spectacular play of LeBron James has not been enough to guarantee a playoff spot. Instead, the Lakers are fighting for a play-in spot in a loaded Western Conference and could be at risk of missing the playoffs entirely. At the start of the season, this was unfathomable.
Anthony Davis is arguably a top-5 player in the game when healthy, but the issue is that the big man is hardly available. He cannot stay healthy for any significant amount of time, leaving the Lakers consistently shorthanded. Without Davis leading the Lakers in scoring as he did during the 2020 season, the team has little to no chance to compete. Of course, the play of Russell Westbrook was been largely scrutinized because he was the major addition by the team after the Lakers gave up Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for him. There is no doubt that Russ has underperformed, and the Lakers will need to find a way to move him as soon as possible before the start of next season.
With this season basically over for the Lakers, it might be time for the legendary franchise to move on from their most valuable asset: Anthony Davis. At age 29, it is very likely that Davis will not stay healthy for the rest of his career and will likely not play at least 70 games going forward. The last time Davis played at least 70 games, he was with the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2018 season.
Luckily, Davis still has high trade value because of his incredible talent. There will be teams across the league who will scramble for the 8-time All-Star’s signature because he might be worth the risk. For a Lakers team with a 37-year-old LeBron James, they cannot afford to have Davis continue to miss games and can cash in with these 5 trade offers. Without further ado, here are the 5 best destinations where the Lakers can ship off Anthony Davis.
Trade Package: Miles Bridges (Sign and Trade), 2022 First-Round Pick, 2024 First-Round Pick, 2026 First-Round Pick, Kai Jones, James Bouknight For Anthony Davis
Currently, the Charlotte Hornets hold the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference. Thanks to the growth and leadership of All-Star LaMelo Ball, Charlotte is a promising team with an exciting style of play. While the Hornets will likely not make a deep playoff run this year, they are clearly building something with an exciting young core.
But to accelerate Charlotte's contention in the East, they might want to acquire a future Hall of Fame talent in Anthony Davis to pair with LaMelo Ball. Miles Bridges is having a tremendous season as one of the contenders for Most Improved Player, averaging 20.1 PPG and 7.1 RPG on 48.7% shooting. With Davis, they have one of the best duos in the league with LaMelo Ball feeding the big man while the Lakers get some young blood who can play around an aging LeBron James.
Trade Package: John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, 2022 First-Round Pick For Anthony Davis
The Hawks are nowhere near the team they were last year and will be forced to compete for the play-in spot by the end of the season. Trae Young started for the Eastern Conference All-Stars, and he has had a great individual season by posting 28.0 PPG and 9.6 APG. The guard is one of the best offensive players in the game, and Atlanta should make changes to build around him.
Acquiring Anthony Davis could bolster the Hawks back into a top-5 seed in the East next year because he and Trae Young will be one of the best little-big duos in the league. The Hawks can go big with Davis and Clint Capela down low, and not worry about defensive strength due to Davis’ versatility. This is a risk worth taking by the Hawks, while the Lakers acquire 3 young starters to place around LeBron James. Finally, Los Angeles will have consistent shooting and athletes who can move on defense and run the floor as well.
New York Knicks
Trade Package: Julius Randle, Evan Fournier, Immanuel Quickley, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2024 First-Round Pick, 2026 First-Round Pick, 2023 Second-Round Pick For Anthony Davis
One of the most disappointing teams this season, after the Los Angeles Lakers, has been the New York Knicks. After surprising everybody to grab the No. 4 overall pick last year, New York has fallen out of playoff contention as they look primed to miss the play-in. Of course, reigning Most Improved Player and former All-Star Julius Randle has been heavily involved in trade rumors.
New York fans are fearing another playoff drought with the roster currently constructed, and are yearning for a change. Julius Randle is still an effective player at 27 years old, which means his trade value is very high. For the Knicks, they could be looking to move Randle and an assortment of picks for superstar talent. Anthony Davis certainly fits the bill and could be part of a contending roster with RJ Barrett coming into his own. For the Lakers, they could acquire 3 starting-caliber players to bolster their depth and give LeBron a younger core to work around. The 3 first-round picks also give L.A. future flexibility.
Trade Package: Zach LaVine (Sign and Trade), Coby White, 2024 First-Round Pick For Anthony Davis
After starting the season on fire, Chicago’s injuries have seemingly caught up to them because they have fallen out of the top-4 rankings in the East. As great as DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine have been, Chicago have not been able to hold onto their top spot in the conference. DeRozan is signed to a long-term contract, but Zach LaVine has yet to dedicate his future to the Bulls. Chicago’s management might want to cash in on their star guard if they are convinced Zach is not excited to be back.
In a sign and trade deal involving Zach LaVine, the Bulls will have enough to convince the Lakers to move on from Anthony Davis. LaVine is putting up 24.6 PPG on 47.9% FG and 39.5% 3-PT FG with the Bulls, excellent numbers for the 2-time All-Star. The Lakers would almost certainly pair LaVine with LeBron at the expense of an injury-prone Davis. If the Bulls cannot find another All-Star replacement for LaVine, Anthony Davis and DeMar DeRozan would be a dynamic duo next year.
Trade Package: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent For Anthony Davis
Miami are fighting to hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference because they have been the most consistent team on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, the Jimmy Butler fiasco with head coach Erik Spoelstra has created a ton of doubt about the Heat’s title hopes this year. Anytime a team’s best player fights with the coach, it is not a good look. But Miami are not expected to falter, and should still compete for a title.
But there could be some roster changes coming up because the Heat might not want to pay Tyler Herro maximum money to keep him long-term. Rather, Miami could trade Tyler Herro and current star Bam Adebayo for a superstar talent in Anthony Davis. Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis would be hard to beat because they will be the best two-way duo in the NBA. For the Lakers, Bam Adebayo improves their defense on the interior while Tyler Herro brings a first-option on offense to relieve The King. Anthony Davis would most likely prefer to end up in Miami because it is a destination city with a great head coach and roster. LeBron also wins, because he has Bam replacing Davis’ minutes and a legitimate 20 PPG scorer in Herro capable of taking at least 18 shots per game.