Did Pelicans sabotage Lakers as revenge for tampering?
Revenge is a dish best served cold and with a side of Dell Demps.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been working hard to try and acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans following Davis’ trade demand issued last week. All reports have indicated so far that the Pelicans are toying with the Lakers, first by telling them they don’t consider their trade offers to be serious, and then by not responding to their improved offers.
The result is that about half of the Lakers’ roster has been named in the trade talks — seemingly leaked by the Pelicans to the media — which undermines the Lakers by interrupting their team chemistry. How hard will the players play for the organization and for LeBron James if they know the team and James wanted to trade them for Davis? We saw the answer on Tuesday night.
Taking things one step further, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Wednesday that the Pelicans are intentionally sabotaging the Lakers as revenge for what they felt was tampering by trying to manipulate the Davis-to-Lakers deal.
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." pic.twitter.com/wki2hDPaEs
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 7, 2019
This sort of tampering and working behind-the-scenes with trade demands by a player 1.5 seasons away from free agency does not sit well with many fans, nor should it. It’s bad for the overall health of the league and makes it seem like certain teams have no shot at winning if their best players are forcing their way out so early. LeBron James complained about that on Instagram, but he’s missing the point.
The Pelicans should trade Davis when they’re ready and only for what they feel is the best deal for them rather than be pressured into pulling the trigger early because the Lakers want him. Their best offer may end up coming this summer from a team like Boston.