The LA Lakers have quickly become a dominating force in the league behind their star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James played a significant part in helping the Lakers land Davis, which has anchored the team’s tremendous success. However, before that franchise-changing move, James attempted to lure in another star player to LA.
LeBron James helps the Lakers land Anthony Davis
Following LeBron James‘ first season with the Lakers, LA shifted things into high gear toward putting together a championship-contending roster.
Through a significant portion of the 2018-19 season, rumors floated around that disgruntled star forward Anthony Davis wanted a move to the Lakers. LA nearly landed Davis before the trade deadline, but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.
LA finally pulled the trigger in mid-June 2019 by moving three first-round picks, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Davis’ arrival immediately pushed the Lakers toward serious championship aspirations with another star to play alongside James.
It didn’t take long for the two to anchor the Lakers’ success in their first season together. They swiftly pushed toward securing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the first time in a decade that laid the foundation for their impressive NBA title run in the playoffs.
Davis and James led the Lakers to a dominant postseason push going no more than five games in each of the first three rounds of the playoffs. LA played six games against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, but they never lost control of the series.
The two are the centerpieces of LA’s bright future ahead, but Davis wasn’t James’ initial choice as his next star teammate.
LeBron James failed to recruit another NBA star to the Lakers before Anthony Davis
Following LeBron James’ decision to join the Lakers, the question quickly became which star player would join him.
The talk quickly centered on Anthony Davis, but there was another top talent that James had his eyes on before that. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the four-time league MVP had attempted to lure Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
“By all accounts, the Blazers centerpiece is perhaps the most loyal of NBA stars, hailed around the league as a rare breed of culture setter,” Fischer stated. “He has long rebuffed recruiting attempts from rivals—and there have been plenty. In this league, LeBron James drafting Lillard to three straight All-Star squads is not coincidence.”
Despite Lillard’s continued strong stance of loyalty to the Blazers, James moved forward in his recruitment. However, the star guard didn’t budge and later agreed to a four-year, $196 million max deal with Portland two weeks after Davis’ trade.
There is an evident strong admiration from James toward Lillard, but there is no desire from him to leave Portland.
LA’s future remains bright
LeBron James and the Lakers may have lost out on the opportunity to secure Damian Lillard, but it doesn’t hamper their future in any regard.
LA instead acquired Anthony Davis, who is in the prime of his career and is recognized as one of the game’s best talents. Yes, there are concerns with his injury history, but he is a foundational piece for success when healthy.
He and James have quickly shown they can guide LA to more NBA titles. Injuries have plagued them this season, but the two have an opportunity to return to the floor and guide the franchise toward another championship run.