The Los Angeles Lakers have been connected to Anthony Davis even before the 2018-2019 season began: a notable win on Christmas only accelerated speculation.
Warriors’ apologists are coming out and declaring that the loss was a result of the Warriors not caring about the regular season and saving the energy for the postseason. While that admittedly does have some truth to it, this is arguably Golden State’s biggest regular season game of the year and the team truly fell flat.
The Warriors lacked energy and played like a can of soda that had been sitting outside for six hours. Nothing was impressive about Golden State, while on the other hand, the Lakers played with a nice tempo and were able to use their youth and athleticism to take advantage.
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And while it is the most terrible thing to do in the sports world to overreact to one regular season game, this does get the hamster wheel spinning in the brain that the Lakers could theoretically defeat the Warriors in a seven-game series.
The Lakers would need virtually everything to go right and for the Warriors to have some bad shooting nights in order to make it happen. However, it is absurd to completely discredit the Lakers, especially knowing that there could be a move on the table as early as this year.
That move is the biggest elephant in the room for the entire NBA: trading for Anthony Davis. Winning in such a fashion is going to get the hamster wheel spinning in the front office’s head and is going to accelerate a potential deal for Anthony Davis.
The Lakers not only proved that they could hang with the Warriors but that they are also probably the most qualified team to beat Golden State. Say what you will about the rest of the league, nobody knows how to beat the Warriors better than LeBron James.
Even the smallest glimmer of hope is going to convince Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka that this team can make noise now and that they don’t have to wait until the 2019 offseason or beyond. Instead, the Lakers can make the move now and legitimately win the 2019 NBA Finals.
With no other star really on the market, that points every single arrow to Anthony Davis. Davis is having yet another stellar year (28.0 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.8 blocks) but is still on the 15-19 New Orleans Pelicans, who are 14th in the Western Conference.
Every loss and every failure is only going to make the Lakers an even prettier destination. On the other hand, every big win by LA is also going to make the Lakers more desirable.
New Orleans still has the last say as Davis is under contract and the Pelicans have him under team control for at least one more year past this year. However, the NBA has really developed into a player’s league and we see situations like Davis’ where he can force a trade, literally every season.
And when all that falls in place the Los Angeles Lakers will emerge with several young pieces to pick from. Not only are the Lakers a great fit for Davis but they are the ideal trade partner for the Pelicans because of the youth.
Thus, that win over the Golden State Warriors was much more than an average Christmas Day win for the Los Angeles Lakers; it was a win that could help define the team in the coming months and years.