There is Reportedly "Buzz" around Anthony Davis' Availability

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There is Reportedly “Buzz” around Anthony Davis’ Availability

Chicago Bulls

The Los Angeles Lakers’ problems aren’t going away.

One season after acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards and finishing 11th in the Western Conference, LeBron James and Co. are off to a 2-7 start. They currently sit just one spot ahead of the Houston Rockets as the 14th team in the Western Conference, and they also have the single-worst offensive rating in the NBA.

Is there still time for the organization to turn things around? Sure. We’re only three weeks into a long 82-game season. But … does anyone actually expect them to do a 180? Well, that’s the key question.

As currently built, it’s hard to picture the Lakers making any noise in a stiff Western Conference. Not only do they have some of the worst depth in the NBA, but their “Big 3” has struggled to play winning basketball. Now, there is a world where the front office finally finds a suitor for Russell Westbrook’s contract and forks over their highly-coveted 2027 and 2029 first-rounders for a starting-caliber player or two. But, even then, this roster might be so flawed that one big trade can’t guarantee they transform into a true contender mid-season.

So that brings us to what The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said on his latest podcast. According to him, the idea of the Lakers trading Anthony Davis is not entirely off the table.

“The Lakers lost again tonight. There is some buzz, just some buzzing, that AD might be available – that that’s is a Plan B,” Simmons said while speaking with Kevin O’Connor on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “Because the Westbrook trade – or whatever they think they can get for Westbrook and whether you’d want to give up future assets – maybe that doesn’t even make sense because what are you are getting if you’re the Lakers?

You got Davis here, who I don’t think has looked the same for a couple of years … I don’t know what the end game is with this Lakers team, but I know the Pelicans have their pick. And I don’t think whatever they have, I don’t think it’s really fixable in a way that makes them a playoff team”

Ooooooooooooh boy.

Trading Davis may seem like a far-fetched idea, but it actually does feel like one of the only ways for this organization to retool its asset pool. While Simmons is right to say that Davis hasn’t looked the same in recent years, he still possesses one of the league’s most elite two-way skillsets. A handful of organizations would surely jump at the opportunity to compile a package for the in-his-prime big man, and who is to say those packages can’t help put the Lakers on a better long-term trajectory?

With that said, are the Lakers really thinking long-term? LeBron James is still in town, and trading Davis isn’t going to return a bunch of players who can immediately contend. You trade a player of Davis’ caliber to either stock up on draft picks or add high-ceiling young talent. Unless the Brooklyn Nets choose to entertain a KD-AD swap or the Celtics take him for Jaylen Brown, the Lakers likely aren’t going to get back a particularly valuable short-term piece.

But, fine, let’s assume the phone lines are open and the Lakers are searching for a deal. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t wonder whether or not the Bulls would get involved, and Simmons actually did the same.

My initial thought is Chicago doesn’t get past the brainstorming stage. The fact of the matter is that other teams around the league can likely present the Lakers with far more intriguing offers, particularly if the plan is to load up on draft capital. Now, if the plan is to add immediate talent, I guess it’s possible that the Lakers could have an interest in DeMar DeRozan and/or Nikola Vucevic.

Acquiring both in exchange for Davis and Kendrick Nunn does work in the handy-dandy trade machine. But we’d also be silly to think that any deal would be that simple. The Lakers would surely want more considering what they gave up for Davis a handful of years ago. Not to mention, are we sure the Bulls want to throw DeRozan into a trade package at this point?

If the goal is to add Davis and compete for a championship – which it should be – it almost feels like DeRozan has to stay a piece of the puzzle. Simmons and O’Connor agreed with that sentiment, basically ruling the Bulls out after a short discussion.

Look, we can never say never in today’s NBA. But I think the availability of Davis – let alone the involvement of the Bulls if he were to become available – isn’t a discussion we’ll be having for long. Finding him a new home feels incredibly complicated, and the Lakers also don’t seem to be in a position where trading the big man makes much sense.


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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.