At last count, nearly 2,000 NBA players changed teams last week before the trade deadline. Remarkably, Anthony Davis was not among them.
Some of you — for instance, those obsessing over Prince Philip giving up his driver’s license at age 97 after his latest car crash — might not be up to speed on the Davis situation.
Couch Slouch is here to fill in the details for you.
Davis recently indicated he wanted to move on from the New Orleans Pelicans. The sports media — and, frankly, the entirety of the NBA — treated this as if Warren Buffett had indicated he was leaving Berkshire Hathaway.
The only thing that could’ve eclipsed the Davis news in NBA circles is if LeBron James had announced he was signing on to Elon Musk’s SpaceX mission to Mars in 2024, or if Michael Jordan had introduced a line of Nike loafers.
Davis, 25, immediately was sought after by virtually every general manager in the league; 28 of the other 29 teams made trade offers for him.* In addition, all 37 Democratic presidential hopefuls offered him the vice-presidential slot on their tickets.
Meanwhile, Davis let it be known that he preferred to go to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers — desperate not to lose Dyan Cannon as a season-ticket holder — kept sweetening their offer to the Pelicans. Their final proposal would’ve sent nearly half their roster plus draft picks to New Orleans.
I kid you not.
The Lakers reportedly were willing to trade Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — that’s a decent NBA starting five with a sixth man right there — plus two first-round picks to obtain Davis.
Granted, if this deal went through, the Lakers would’ve been short of able bodies. But Staples Center sources — yeah, I’ve got sources, though most of them work outside of the arena — told me that the Lakers were planning to start Davis, LeBron, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Shaquille O’Neal, with Luke Walton coming off the bench, until the 2019-20 season began.
OK, I’m kidding on this one.
(The Pelicans now will wait until summer to try to deal Davis. To reduce his chance of injury the rest of the season, he will be limited to the opening tap of each game and shooting technical fouls, plus the Pelicans will allow Davis to cover Carmelo Anthony for one quarter if he is signed by an NBA team.)
To smooth over ruffled feathers with all the Lakers rumored to be traded for Davis — that would be every player on the roster other than LeBron — team president of basketball operations Johnson handed out $50 gift cards to Starbucks and Burger King.
The Lakers’ last proposal to the Pelicans recalled the blockbuster NFL deal in 1989, when the Dallas Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks. Or the blockbuster expedition deal in 1507, when Vasco da Gama traded 202 crew members to Ferdinand Magellan for three square-rigged masts and his GPS.
Many NBA teams got creative in their attempts to acquire Davis. Among the more interesting terms the Pelicans rejected were the following:
• The Los Angeles Clippers offered Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Montrezl Harrell and owner Steve Ballmer’s kitchen sink.
• The Phoenix Suns offered Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Zion Williamson (if they drafted him) and two timeshares in Sedona.
• The Philadelphia 76ers offered Ben Simmons and the Liberty Bell.
Even the NFL’s Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders made a bid, which included a promise to relocate the franchise wherever Davis wanted.
* The Cleveland Cavaliers were the only NBA team not to pursue Davis. Owner Dan Gilbert said he would just rather wait for LeBron to return.
Ask The Slouch
Q: Any chance Stepson of Destiny Isaiah Eisendorf will don a jersey with “Slouch II” stitched on the back at some point in his hoops career? (E. Shepard; Florence, Mont.)
A: Indeed, this is a goal of mine, but he is currently playing pro basketball in Israel and “Slouch II” does not translate easily into Hebrew. By the way, Isaiah is averaging 10.9 points and 6.6 rebounds for Hapoel Haifa.
Q: At the end of basketball games, how do the only three people on the planet who don’t know that the team that’s losing is fouling on purpose, end up officiating the game that I’m watching? (Mike Okubo; Chicago)
A: I think you need to curb your betting activity.
Q: Is it true Tony Romo predicted the outcomes of your first two marriages? (Barry Goodrich; Novelty, Ohio)
A: Not to disparage Romo – whose NFL commentary work on CBS has been fabulous – but there was a long line of people around the block correctly predicting the outcomes of my first two marriages.
Q: After watching the Jay Bilas “94 feet” features on ESPN, should we just be thankful that he doesn’t announce college football? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)
A: Pay the man, Shirley.
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