The Lakers refused to break up their young core to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Suns because they’re saving their assets for a run at Anthony Davis, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said today on ESPN (Hat tip to Real GM).
Davis will be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension from the Pelicans next summer, which could pay him a record-setting $239.5 million over five seasons. However, if Davis decides not to accept that offer, he is guaranteed just one more season in New Orleans before his player option arrives in the summer of 2020.
The Lakers are among several teams preparing for that scenario, stockpiling as much young talent as they can to offer the Pelicans in a potential trade.
“Here’s the line they have to walk: they’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season,” Wojnarowski said, “because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre or post free agency.”
L.A. has been careful about preserving cap room for next season to be able to make a max offer in a talented free agent class that will include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and several other stars.