The Los Angeles Lakers are emerging as the new front-runner for this year’s “Best Drama.”

It’s been a wild week for the Lakers after New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis requested a trade last week. It’s been reported Davis’ preference is to team up with LeBron James on the Lakers, and LA is reportedly hellbent on trading for the big man before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

In order to do that, though, the Lakers will have to put together a monster collection of picks and players. Conversations with the Pelicans, according to reports, haven’t gone well thus far, and LA reportedly ended talks with New Orleans (for now) until the price comes down.

However, there have been multiple reports about which players the Lakers might offer in a deal for Davis, which might be making things understandably awkward on the Lakers’ bench and in the locker room. Add in reports of a team conflict over the weekend, and you’ve got quite the powder keg simmering ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Things cratered Tuesday night when the Indiana Pacers handed James the most lopsided loss of his career, a 42-point shellacking that dropped LA to .500 for the season. The optics weren’t especially good for James, either, as he was seen sitting by himself at the end of the Lakers bench midway through the fourth quarter.

Screenshot via NBA League Pass

Is it really that big of a deal? It’s almost impossible to say, but it’s not a great look. Some initial film study clears some things up but definitely leaves plenty of questions. This obviously would be an absolute non-story if it weren’t for all the swirling rumors. But those rumors are there, so here we are.

The Pacers fans didn’t make it any easier for the Lakers, either. At one point in the first quarter, Brandon Ingram — subject of plenty of trade murmurs — was serenaded with “LeBron’s gonna trade you” chants at the free-throw line. So yeah, the perception that not only a player like Ingram will be traded, but that James is the one pulling the strings, is exactly why everyone’s going to read way too much into things like who is and isn’t sitting with the Lakers’ star.

Heaven forbid the Lakers don’t actually end up with Davis. That could make things much, much more awkward — especially if there are any more 40-point losses in the Lakers’ near future.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images