When Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, he made it clear his desired destination was the Los Angeles Lakers, and that apparently angered his current team.
Davis was fined $50,000 for his agent Rich Paul making the trade demand public and the Pelicans asked the league to “strictly enforce” the tampering laws.
But the Pelicans’ anger apparently goes well beyond asking the NBA to look into the Lakers’ actions.
It appears the Pelicans leaked trade rumors in an attempt to upset the Lakers’ chemistry as revenge for trying to tamper with Davis, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst was asked about the possibility of New Orleans weaponizing the rumors to hurt LA, and he all but confirmed it.
“It’s not just possible. It’s what happened,” Windhorst said, via NBC Sports. “I know that the Pelicans — how do I want to put this? The Pelicans had a method to their madness in the way this went. Did they know it was going to lead a 40-point loss because everybody’s upset? Not necessarily.”
New Orleans and Los Angeles discussed potential packages for Davis for a week before LA reportedly backed out of the deal after the Pelicans’ asking price got too high. When word leaked the Pelicans were unhappy with the Lakers’ offer, someone associated with the talks revealed LA had offered Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Ivica Zubac and Josh Hart, among others in the deal.
New Orleans’ vengeance appears to have hit the Lakers like a sledgehammer, as LA lost by 42 points to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night and looked disjointed and disinterested in playing together.
The NBA trade deadline passed without Davis being moved, and now the Lakers must try to fix their fractured chemistry and make a run at one of the Western Conference’s final playoff spots before trying to once again acquire Davis in the offseason.