Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
An argument can be made on both sides here – LA’s and Portland’s – that this is a bad call. However, the opposite is also true.
Davis is constantly injured. So far this year, he’s played 38 of a possible 63 games. Last season, he played 40. The season before that, he played 36.
LeBron James handpicked The Brow to be his running mate in LA. When he’s been on the floor, it’s worked out – the Lakers won the bubble title in 2020, for instance. Davis just hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and it’s been a major part of the team’s sub-par performances the past two seasons (and the way things are going, this one too).
LeBron signed a two-year extension with LA with a player option for 2024-25. Does he want to spend another year praying that Davis is on the court? Hoping that he has a second player good enough to help carry his team to a title?
James will also be 39 next season and is currently on the shelf with an injury of his own. How many more years can he beat 29 teams and father time to a championship?
Flipping AD to Portland for Simons, Sharpe, and some salary filler, while re-stocking some draft assets, would balance out the Lakers’ roster and give them players with actual availability. LeGM could always flip a player like Sharpe and some of those draft assets for an established star, as well.
Meanwhile, Portland gets the best player in this deal. When healthy – which we’ve established is a massive question mark – Davis is still one of the 10 best players in the league. In the games he’s played this season, he’s averaging 25.8 points on 56 percent shooting to go along with 12.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals.
The last time he played close to a full season was his first in LA, when he averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and shot 33 percent from three on more than three attempts per game.
When healthy, Davis is a superstar. Lillard will turn 33 next year. At some point, Cronin and the Blazers need to take a risk and go all-in while Dame is still capable of pouring in 71 points on any given night.
If it works, Lillard and Davis are a good enough duo to legitimately compete for an NBA championship. If it doesn’t, Davis is stuck on the bench and Lillard has to carry a team to middle-of-the-road purgatory while fans debate a complete reset.
What would that be like?