Lakers GM Rob Pelinka thought the Anthony Davis trade was dead at several points on the day it actually happened
Despite Los Angeles Lakers manifesting an Anthony Davis trade to their beloved purple and gold, general manager Rob Pelinka had his share of roller-coaster moments trying to bring that dream into a reality.
The Lakers executive explained how the coin almost turned on the wrong end during negotiations:
“Major NBA trades live on the edge of a dime. I think, maybe the everyday fan doesn’t know how the fulcrum is so razor thin, and something’s close to being done and then it’s far from being done and then you think you have it done and you start over,” Pelinka told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “The day that it was completed, I remember there were a number of hurdles that seemed insurmountable that came up where we thought this just is never going to happen.”
New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin already had some experience trading a disgruntled star, doing so two years ago with Kyrie Irving as a former member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, giving him enough time to think on how he would’ve handled that better. And he did, putting the pressure on Pelinka to squeeze out every asset possible in a deal for Davis:
“Literally the day that the trade happened,” Pelinka recalled, “there were a couple points I was convinced that there would be no further conversations.”
But the Lakers felt they owed this trade to LeBron James, who had played a full season without any real supporting cast and missed his first postseason since 2005:
“When a player of LeBron’s stature puts his trust in the organization,” said Pelinka. “I think there’s an implicit bilateral trust going back saying: ‘We’re going to do everything we can to put you in a position to win more championships, because that’s what you’re about.'”
Pelinka ultimately swung for the fences and struck the deal for Davis, giving up pieces like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in the process, all for the sake of the star partnership they now enjoy.