The demand for Anthony Davis continues to climb higher and higher.
The 2018 MVP finalist was always destined to be a precious commodity this offseason, but several events during the NBA Finals this past week have increased his value around the league. Common sense dictates that this could help David Griffin and the New Orleans Pelicans at the bargaining table.
With Kawhi Leonard leading the Toronto Raptors to their first Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, Masai Ujiri looks like the biggest genius in the game today, gambling on an elite player in the final year of his contract and ignoring the threat of an imminent departure to Los Angeles. So much so, the Washington Wizards reportedly want to whisk away Toronto’s president of basketball operations for $60 million. Those in control of other franchises must be wondering if they can copy his blueprint, but there’s another important detail that bears mentioning in this story.
On the other side of the coin, the Warriors suffered more than any loser should in an NBA Finals. Forget about any three-peat talk, Bob Myers would be worlds happier right now had his team just made it through these playoffs relatively unscathed. Depressing injuries sustained by Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson have now put Golden State’s odds of reaching the next postseason into question.
Even if Warriors are able to keep Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant in free agency, it'll be a fight to reach playoffs in the Western Conference. Thompson's ACL rehab could take him into February or March -- and Durant likely misses entire season. Devastating turn of events. https://t.co/xKXayv9p34— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 14, 2019
If there was ever a time to sacrifice the future for a lone season, it is now.
While it’s understandable for teams in the East to either seek respectability or try to surpass the Raptors or Bucks, the Western Conference is suddenly primed for a takeover. The Warriors dynasty, if it didn’t come to a sad, abrupt end yesterday, will probably then be forced into hibernation for a year. That means that the rest of the playoff teams out West — all separated by a mere six games in the standings — as well as a few teams who finished outside of the bubble could gain a significant competitive advantage by adding the most available superstar.
At the front of the line should stand the Los Angeles Lakers. They were already expected to sell the farm for Davis, but these latest series of events present another example to give up everything necessary to make a deal happen. Pair up AD with LeBron James and the Lakers could be the favorites to reach the next NBA Finals. Moreover, there isn’t a faster way for Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka to repair their broken images and bury this season’s biggest catastrophe. No way should anybody risk potentially wasting another year of one of the greatest to ever lace it up!
Of course, other teams out West shouldn’t hesitate to act as well. The Trail Blazers prove every season that the combination of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are exciting but need additional firepower. The Clippers should try and add the next best thing with recent circumstances likely removing Durant and Leonard from the equation. And who wouldn’t call the Nuggets the favorites if Davis gets placed in between Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic on Denver’s roster?
The Toronto Raptors took advantage of a depressed market for Kawhi Leonard one year ago and their franchise will forever reap the rewards. While Anthony Davis should fetch a much greater return as GMs learned an important lesson, the cost could still be assets well spent for a buyer — especially if he sits in a conference long dominated by the vaunted Golden State Warriors and has been waiting for the door to be only ever so slightly ajar.