The ugliness in Los Angeles with the Lakers is worse than originally thought and that could turn into good fortune for both the Celtics and Knicks. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was said to have been beyond furious with LeBron James and Anthony Davis' agent Rich Paul in late January and February, so much so that she contemplated trading LeBron himself.
"Paul denied to B/R that he leaked the Lakers' interest in Davis, but Buss suspected otherwise and was furious," Longtime NBA reporter Ric Bucher wrote this week. "The idea of terminating the franchise's relationship with Paul by moving James at least crossed Buss' mind, the team source said, and Paul was made aware of that."
Since Bucher's report, more connected NBA writers have said that the possibility of Davis and LeBron teaming up with the Lakers no longer exists.
"I've been told that there's no way Anthony Davis is coming to Los Angeles through the Pelicans," The Undefeated's Marc Spears said on The Jump.
Michael Wilbon, who was on the set with Spears, echoed that thought.
"They're just not going to do it," Wilbon said. "I've heard the same thing.
This opens the door significantly for the Celtics to swing a trade for Davis this summer. The Celtics have long held the most trade-able assets to pull off a move for The Brow and now there will be less competition with the Lakers out of the equation.
The Knicks could also put a package together for Davis this summer, but their preferred route to add superstar level talent is still through free agency. The idea is that free agency is just money. Trading for a superstar, on the other hand, makes you surrender young talent. Ideally, you want the superstar player AND that young, affordable talent.
One longshot to trade for Davis is a team we haven't discussed here before: the Chicago Bulls. If Chicago is unlucky in the lottery and winds up with a pick in the 2-5 range then they will explore a trade with the Pelicans. Essentially, the Bulls would follow the model the Celtics used in the late 2000s when they traded for Kevin Garnett. Boston, at the time, was among the worst teams in the league but traded away a boatload of young talent and picks away in exchange for Garnett.
The Bulls would need to land a marquee free agent this summer as well to entice Davis to stay - which is no small task. But Chicago is still one of the biggest markets on the NBA map and Davis resurrecting that franchise would be appealing. If the Knicks land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency, then Boston will not be looking to trade for Davis. By process of elimination, the Bulls could jump into the race.