In his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony Davis has somehow been even better than advertised.
Davis averaged 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. While neither were career-highs, they are incredible numbers. That is especially true when you take into account the 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game that helped garner Davis the Defensive Player of the Year award.
However, at the end of the year Davis is a free agent. If we’re being honest, it is pretty obvious he will be going back to the Lakers.
Los Angeles will want to lock him up long term. Meanwhile, there is no reason to believe Davis will not want to stay after all the personal and team success he enjoyed.
That’s no fun to speculate over. It is almost a given at this point. You know what is fun though? Wonder where Davis could go on the absurdly off chance he decides the Lakers are not the franchise for him.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some scenarios. What are some of the most likely or most exciting/fun franchises for Davis to land if he leaves Los Angeles?
This is a team Davis has been linked to for a while. They are his hometown team, so of course we need to mention them here.
The Chicago Bulls was really bad last year. Many might think that will deter Davis. However, they do have some exciting pieces that could help lure him in.
Lauri Markkanen is an incredible floor spacer. Remember how good Davis did when he had Ryan Anderson as a teammate? That type of spacing allowed him to dominate down low and get wide open from outside.
Zach LaVine is all kinds of fun. He has his issues when it comes to efficiency but give him someone like Davis and maybe he starts to figure those things out.
Coby White was coming on strong at the end of the year. His rookie season went from looking disastrous to being a rousing success. A massive leap in his second year is expected. White could end up being a star guard and a perfect compliment (and lob buddy) for Davis.
Wendell Carter Jr. has been developing into a solid low post presence as well. He might play off Davis perfectly.
Most importantly though, they have assets. We’ve already all heard LaVine’s name swirl around in trade rumors. If they land Davis, maybe they can package Lavine, Carter and some picks to get a teammate of Davis’ choosing.
Then you have that new player going with Davis, Markkanen and White – that’s exciting.
Wouldn’t it be fun for Davis to go back to his hometown and make the team relevant again anyways?
San Antonio Spurs
All that really needs to be said here is Gregg Popovich. Imagine Anthony Davis playing under him.
David Robinson, Tim Duncan, AD. Wow.
The San Antonio Spurs broke their incredible streak this year. Starting in 1998, they made the postseason for 22 straight years. That ties the record, but they fell just short of making it this year.
Spacing could become a serious problem. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are the two best players on the team currently. Neither of those two are exactly “shooters”. With those three on the court at the same time, San Antonio could have a very one-dimensional offense.
That being said, this is Anthony Davis. He is a superstar, one of the very best players in the world. They could probably make it work.
Besides that, both Aldridge and DeRozan have had their names swirling around in trade rumors for a while now. It would not be surprising to see the Spurs decide to just start over.
Sign Anthony Davis, and trade Aldridge and DeRozan to get star pieces that better fit with their new franchise player.
With Popovich and Anthony Davis, there will be no rebuilding process. They will be great again immediately.
Sort of like with the Spurs, not much really needs to be said here. Pair Anthony Davis with Devin Booker and incredible things should happen.
Seriously, how fun would that duo be?
Booker and the Phoenix Suns proved they are ready to win in the Bubble. They went undefeated and narrowly missed out on a playoff spot. It would have been absolutely insane if they managed to snag one and we all would have loved to see what they could do.
Now throw Anthony Davis into the mix. That might turn into the most watchable team in the NBA in a very short span of time.
Imagine a lineup that has Ricky Rubio throwing lobs to Anthony Davis and DeAndre Ayton. It has Booker shooting the lights out and Kelly Oubre continuing his accession into greatness.
This might be tough logistically. You could argue there would be spacing problems or the “too many scorers but not enough balls” issue. At the same time, it might be hard to figure out the money situation.
They would want to keep Booker, Anthony Davis, Ayton all long term. Meanwhile, Oubre should be considered as well and Mikal Bridges still has time to develop into a star.
So they might be leery of throwing money at Anthony Davis, but for a star like him you find a way to make it work.
Just give me one game of a Rubio, Booker, Anthony Davis, Oubre and Ayton lineup. One game, that’s all I’m asking for. It would be electric.
New York Knicks
I really did not want to put the New York Knicks on the list. Every year their fans are insufferable when it comes to the offseason.
Every big name is photoshopped into a Knicks jersey. Somehow they seem to believe they will get the five best free agents and the top three draft prospects every year, it’s incredible.
Then by the middle of free agency they are photoshopping Patty Mills and Dario Saric into Knicks jerseys with the eyeball and fire emojis.
(Sorry for the strays coming your way, Mills and Saric). Both are good players, but not exactly hype machines when it comes to offseason moves.
Finally, by the end of the offseason they have a bad team that they’ve somehow tricked themselves into thinking will be good.
A few weeks into the season and they’ve already started the process over, talking about the upcoming draft and top free agents.
That being said, this is still New York. Sooner or later, they will actually hit on some free agents again. Could it be Anthony Davis that they sway to the Big Apple?
They have exciting young pieces in R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson that could make leaps this year and help out. Meanwhile, they have an early draft pick and can always find a way to move money around and bring in another top-tier player to pair with Anthony Davis.
Admittedly, this is far-fetched. But it wouldn’t be right to talk about a top free agent and not link them to the Knicks – if only for the jokes.
New Orleans Pelicans
I had to do it. Honestly, this is not exactly the most likely option. Everyone probably knows that though.
Obviously, the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Davis. Well technically they were the New Orleans Hornets back then, but same thing.
Anthony Davis went on to have an incredible seven-year career there. However, things turned ugly at the end. The big man demanded a trade, and soon the team sat him out of games to risk any injury so he was good to be traded.
Fans took it in turns to boo him whenever he was on the court, then chant that they wanted him in when he was on the bench. It was a weird situation.
However, there is a new regime there now. New front office, new head coach, and new players.
Anthony Davis was probably not too happy with a lot of different things. Most of that has been addressed.
One thing that many fans would point out is the lack of help. Jrue Holiday is great, but outside of him Anthony Davis rarely got big names.
They brought DeMarcus Cousins over but injuries halted that quickly. Who else though? Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans? No disrespect to any of them, but those were not the “star” players Anthony Davis was likely looking for.
Now something is brewing in New Orleans though. Holiday is still there. Now he’s joined by Brandon Ingram who just enjoyed an incredible breakout year. Zion Williamson looks like a superstar after a fantastic (but brief) rookie 2020. Even Lonzo Ball had big moments and it would be fun to see him throwing lobs to Williamson and Davis all day.
This is not going to happen. If it did though, wouldn’t that be something? What a story that would make.
Pairing Davis with Holiday, Williamson, Ingram, Ball, JJ Redick and company could be fun and dangerous.
It’s not happening, but what if it did …