Finagling a “win-now” deal between two “win-now” teams.
Tonight, an incredibly injury-depleted Los Angeles Lakers club will most likely lose to a relatively-healthy Miami Heat squad.
As has become custom here at All Lakers, we’re going to take a look at a deal that could behoove both the Lakers and the Heat, two teams that should ostensibly be looking to win this season, given the ages and mileage of their best players (LeBron James is 38, Jimmy Butler is 33, while injury-prone Anthony Davis is in his 11th season).
Though LA has been looking to cast off the expiring contracts of a cadre of overpriced point guards (Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million deal, Patrick Beverley’s $13 million salary, and Kendrick Nunn’s $5.3 million contract) of late, there is one very big deal that could potentially benefit both franchises.
It may be time for LA to move on from the Anthony Davis experience. Though he was looking better this season than he had for two years, he can’t be counted on to stay healthy for a full season or playoff run at this stage in his career. He remains a singular, top-10 NBA talent when available, but he’s just not consistently available.
Would the Heat be amenable to trading their defensive anchor, 6’9″ All-Defensive big man Bam Adebayo, in exchange for an admittedly less healthy big man with a more unique offensive game (Davis is much more of a playmaker)? The “Hollinger’s Analysis” feature of the ESPN Trade Machine suggests that swapping superstars would yield a 10-game record improvement for Miami, but a one-game drop-off for the Lakers, in a straight-up deal (the money would work, though Davis earns $7 million more). Perhaps the Lakers could talk old buddy/Heat team president Pat Riley into including a solid, cheap two-way role-player at guard (Gabe Vincent or Max Strus).
The Anthony Davis experience has been a bit more erratic than that rosy John Hollinger Analysis seems to expect it would be in LA, but this writer will concede that his ceiling at present feels higher than Adebayo’s. That said, I’m also quite skeptical that AD would actually be even available to help improve Miami’s game so much. Adebayo is younger and, though he has missed time with random injuries over the past few seasons, he has no chronic, recurrent issues and still has room to grow on offense.
The action tips off tonight at 7 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast on ESPN and Spectrum SportsNet.