The commentary and analysis on the Anthony Davis trade that did not happen seems quite limited. It feels like most views are just repeating the established narrative and not much analysis or thought behind it.
From my view, the established lines are:
- “Haha, the Lakers blew it again”,
- “Pelicans are smart for waiting and not taking the trade”, and
- “This is great news for Boston, they can trade Tatum in the summer”
The Lakers got themselves in a jam with an aging LeBron and an urgency to do something fast. Their offers were about the best they could do to get a great player to win immediately. Trading all their young talent and picks is a terrible bet on the future, an AD injury away from sinking the franchise; but the hole the dug by signing LeBron.
The right move for the Lakers would be to keep their young guys and trade LeBron for Anthony Davis, which would’ve been an earth-shattering trade and would never happen, but that would be best for the long term health of their franchise.
The Pelicans hold the rights for Anthony Davis for 17 months, at the end of the time he will walk away and they will get nothing for him. The Lakers offer was for getting AD with still 4 months to play in 2018/19 season. The commentary I hear is that deal will be there in summer, so waiting is smart, but why would the Lakers offer the same or more value in summer for a third of playing value?
The Lakers deal was the best possible deal the Pelican should get since that was for the most possible value for AD. By not doing a trade, they lost about a third of his playing value they have control over.
Everyone is so sure that Boston will trade Jayson Tatum for Anthony Davis in the summer. Why would Boston do this trade? Tatum by all accounts is an All Star talent, he is under a cheap contract the next two years ($10m, $13m) which allows you to pair him with an expensive free agent. From Anthony Davis’ Dad, AD does not want to play in Boston so likely not resigning. Why give up young cheap talent for a more expensive 1-year rental?
Boston trading for AD is not a great long term strategy, it might give them a better shot at the title in 2019/20 season, but afterwards they will likely have neither Tatum nor AD. There is something to be said for home grown talent and having a player come up through the system, if done right Tatum could be the franchise player for the Celtics for a dozen years. AD will never be that even if he signs an extension there (See KD in Golden State).
Overall, I don’t even know what the goal is for the Pelicans. They have a generational talent in Anthony Davis and can’t seem to do anything with him. So who are they going to trade for, and what do they want to get that will be better?
They probably should just sell and move the franchise to Seattle.