The Lakers Can Admit the Harsh Truth About Anthony Davis By Making a Franchise-Altering Move

The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen well below their championship expectations, potentially missing the playoffs entirely. Star forward Anthony Davis‘ health problem has remained a disappointing issue preventing the franchise from pushing toward title contention.

Regardless of how the Lakers finish the 2021-22 campaign, the franchise is headed toward an offseason of significant change. Those efforts may feature the team trading their star big man.

Anthony Davis is moving through another injury-plagued season

Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis goes through a pre-game workout.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis goes through a pre-game workout. | Cole Burston/Getty Images

After experiencing an injury-plagued campaign last year, Davis hoped that a revamped offseason workout routine with a new trainer would change that.

Instead, the star big man is trekking through another season heavily impacted by injuries. He missed 17 straight contests due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. Although Davis is expected to return against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, he will have missed 18 consecutive games because of a right mid-foot sprain.

The Lakers’ struggles have been much more than the eight-time All-Star’s absence, but the team holds a 14-24 record in the 38 games he’s missed. His unavailability has prevented Los Angeles from finding any fluidity or stability to move toward NBA title contention.

The Lakers are sitting on the brink of missing the play-in tournament entirely. All those factors may finally push the franchise to consider moving the star big man.

Anthony Davis is forcing the Lakers to consider a franchise-altering move

The Lakers are moving toward another busy offseason that will feature a massive roster overhaul to get the franchise back to being a legitimate title contender.

Russell Westbrook will be on the chopping block as his homecoming has been anything but smooth. However, Los Angeles won’t stop there, as longtime NBA insider ESPN’s Brian Windhorst voiced that the team will likely gauge the trade market for Anthony Davis.

“I think it’ll be something that’s discussed,” Windhorst said. “I think it would be a mistake because you’re still talking about a guy — when healthy — who is a top-15 player. You’re not going to be replacing that.

Windhorst may disagree with the possible route, but the Lakers are looking for any opportunity to improve the roster drastically. Davis is in the second year of his five-year, $189.9 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 campaign.

Since his first campaign in Los Angeles, he simply hasn’t been reliable due to injuries. He’s missed at least half the season in each of the last two campaigns. The front office wants to make the most of LeBron James’ remaining window, especially if the move will lead to the star forward extending his contract beyond next season.

“In August, LeBron is eligible to sign a contract extension. He will evaluate the moves of June and July and then extend or not,” Windhorst said. “This is going to be a very delicate couple of months when this season is mercifully over.”

The 37-year-old may be nearing two decades into his career, but he’s still performing at an elite level. The Lakers want to maximize that by providing a team around him that he can guide toward another NBA title. If moving Davis can drastically improve the roster, expect Los Angeles to look into that scenario.

Lakers remain focused on playoff aspirations

As much as the Lakers are pushing toward a busy summer ahead, the team sits focused on reaching the playoffs despite how bleak that looks.

Los Angeles’ blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks has pushed them out of the 10th and final spot for the play-in tournament. With seven regular-season games remaining, the San Antonio Spurs hold the tiebreaker for that last position and are one game behind the ninth-seeded Pelicans.

Their last stretch of the regular season features tough matchups against the Utah Jazz, Pelicans, Denver Nuggets (twice), Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Golden State Warriors. The pathway is challenging, but the Lakers hope James and Davis returning is enough to lift them forward.

Los Angeles is hitting the moment of truth that will make or break their playoff aspirations.

Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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