Trade rumors and the Los Angeles Lakers have become synonymous terms since LeBron James joined the team back in 2018. For most of the last year, those rumors have involved point guard Russell Westbrook. But now, it’s Anthony Davis who could find himself being thrown in the trade machine.
Bill Simmons of The Ringer spoke about the possibility on his podcast, The Bill Simmons Show, noting that there has been “some buzz” about Davis potentially being available in trade talks.
“So, the Lakers lost again today. There’s some buzz, just some buzzing, that AD [Anthony Davis] might be available. That’s a plan B, because the Westbrook trade or whatever they think they can get for Westbrook and whether you want to give up future assets, maybe that doesn’t even make sense because what are you getting if you’re the Lakers.”
Through the Lakers’ nine games, Davis has appeared in eight thus far, playing 35.2 minutes per game. He’s averaging 22.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game. The big man is shooting 52.9% from the field and 23.1% from three-point land.
At 29 years old, he has two more years left on his contract after this current one, but the final season is a player option. With James’ extension, the two stars’ contracts perfectly line up so they will be off the books at the exact same time, as they both have player options in that 2024-25 season.
But as far as this season goes, there have already been some potential issues brewing regarding Davis’ play, and not all of them are his fault.
Obviously, fans want to see his three-point shooting numbers improve, but one problem pointed out by Silver Screen and Roll (SB Nation’s Lakers site) may prove to be more of a concern – Davis doesn’t get enough looks in the second half.
So far this year, Davis is attempting 10.8 shots in the first half of games but just 6.3 in the second half. Lonnie Walker IV is averaging more shot attempts in the second half than Davis. SSR also noted that “Davis’ 22.5% usage rate would be the lowest of his career only after his rookie campaign.”
For as disappointing as Simmons and Lakers fans may be in Davis’ play, there should be an equal level of concern for his lack of involvement in the second-half offense. He can’t perform at a high level if he’s not being given the chance to when the game is on the line.
Trading away a superstar like Davis seems like a drastic measure. He won a title with the Lakers in 2020, they gave up a ton of assets for him (including the right to swap first-round picks in this year’s Victor Wembamyama sweepstakes), and his injury-prone history could decrease his overall value for teams that show interest.
That being said, if the Lakers show no signs of improvement, the possibility cannot be completely shut down. But at that point, it may not be a matter of them choosing to trade Davis. It could be a matter of certain players requesting a trade out of town.