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Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson had one word in response when asked whether the New Orleans Pelicans negotiated in good faith regarding a potential Anthony Davis trade.
“No,” Johnson said to reporters when asked the question Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group shared Johnson’s full thoughts:
Kyle Goon @kylegoon
Here’s what Lakers team president Magic Johnson said about whether the team was entering good faith negotiations. The question was not specifically phrased about New Orleans, but it was implied.
“No. … But at the end of the day, what happened happened.” https://t.co/1Jahd32ZmF
While the Lakers failed in their very public pursuit of Davis, Johnson isn’t panicking.
“That’s not going to change our plans this summer,” he said, per McMenamin. “It’s a great [free agency] class and we just want to get one of them.”
The Los Angeles Times‘ Broderick Turner reported the Lakers had offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round picks to the Pelicans.
A day after Turner’s report, ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported New Orleans’ front office hadn’t formally responded to the Lakers’ offer, and one source told Turner the Pelicans were making “outrageous” trade demands.
As the trade deadline was rapidly approaching, both Rachel Nichols and Brian Windhorst wondered on ESPN’s The Jump whether the Pelicans ever seriously considered dealing Davis to L.A. and instead wanted to create chaos:
Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said “it’s not just possible, it’s what happened.” 👀 https://t.co/wki2hDPaEs
One could argue Johnson is correct in his assessment and New Orleans simultaneously spurned the Lakers for valid basketball reasons.
Los Angeles’ young stars haven’t developed as expected, so a trade package headlined by Ball, Kuzma and Ingram isn’t that appealing when a player the caliber of Davis is going in the other direction.
The Pelicans didn’t get much time to truly evaluate the trade landscape, either. The Boston Celtics can’t acquire Davis until the summer, and more teams might be willing to enter the fray with the benefit of a full offseason to weigh the decision.
Even though Davis can opt out after the 2019-20 season, New Orleans should still have a lot of leverage in trade negotiations at the end of the year.