NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Anthony Davis, Lakers Deadline Plans, Joe Ingles

Adam WellsDecember 25, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis plays against the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
AP Photo/Nikki Boertman

As the Los Angeles Lakers think about their future whenever the LeBron James era ends, Anthony Davis' status as the long-term face of the franchise is uncertain. 

Per NBA reporter Marc Stein on his Substack Newsletter (h/t HoopsHype), people in the NBA are " asking the question, 'Will they trade AD before his contract runs out so they don't end up on that position?'"

Stein did make a point of stressing that he has "not heard anything" to suggest that the Lakers are even thinking about doing this. 

B/R's Zach Buckley noted a Davis trade "seems impossible at the moment, if for no other reason than the fact he still has the ceiling of a top-five talent."

Certainly, no one is suggesting the Lakers would even consider moving Davis right now. His friendship with James would seem to make it a non-starter at this point, even if Los Angeles wanted to do it. 

James agreed to a two-year, $85 million extension in December 2020 that keeps him with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season. He will be 38 years old when that deal expires. 

Appearing on the Smartless Podcast in July (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports), James said he hopes to finish his career in Los Angeles. 

"However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven, I hope I can continue to play the game," he added.

Davis has two more guaranteed years plus a $43.2 million player option for 2024-25 on his current deal, per Spotrac. The eight-time All-Star hasn't had the same impact on the Lakers since helping them win an NBA championship in 2019-20. 

He only appeared in 36 games last season due to injuries. A groin injury limited him to a total of 25 minutes over the final three games of Los Angeles' first-round postseason series loss to the Phoenix Suns. 

Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in 27 starts this season. His 105 defensive rating so far is tied for the worst mark of his career (2018-19), per Basketball-Reference.com

The Lakers roster is messy right now, as head coach Frank Vogel tries to find ways to smoothly integrate Russell Westbrook into the mix with James and Davis. Their 16-17 start is due in part to key players missing time due to injuries and health and safety protocols, including James and Davis. 

Buckley did note the Lakers theoretically could look to trade Kendrick Nunn and/or Talen Horton-Tucker before the Feb. 10 deadline to upgrade their roster, but neither player has enough "pull to bring an elite player back to L.A."

If the Lakers get all of their key players back healthy and playing at a high level, they have the ability to move into the upper-echelon of Western Conference contenders. 

Joe Ingles Trade Buzz

It would seem odd for a team with the third-best record in the Western Conference to even consider trading a valuable shooter like Joe Ingles, but the Utah Jazz are in a unique position with their roster right now. 

Per ESPN's Zach Lowe, executives from rival teams "have wondered what the Jazz might be able to get in exchange for Ingles and a first-round pick."

There is no indication at this point that the Jazz are looking to deal Ingles, though Lowe did note the 34-year-old has an expiring contract and isn't a great fit for the roster at this point:

"He's not as airtight on defense anymore. He basically only takes 3s; he has attempted 14 free throws all season. He's a really good passer, but his assists are down and his playmaking doesn't feel quite as essential as it once did with Mitchell, Conley, and Clarkson all getting tons of minutes. Quin Snyder may want to experiment with Rudy Gay in a larger role."

Ingles is still shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range, but his scoring average (8.0 points per game) and assists (3.5) are the fewest for him since the 2016-17 season. 

The Jazz are in a trick position. They have a 22-9 record with a league-best 117.6 offensive rating and 10.6 net rating, per Basketball-Reference.com

Their regular-season success in 2021-22 isn't going to get many people outside of Salt Lake City excited because of what happened in 2020-21.

The Jazz were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season with the best net rating in the NBA (9.3), but they lost in the second round of the playoffs to a Los Angeles Clippers team that didn't have Kawhi Leonard for the final two games due to a partially torn ACL. 

Utah hasn't advanced past the second round of the postseason since the 2006-07 season. 

If general manager Justin Zanik can find a deal that will upgrade the Jazz for the stretch run, Ingles' skill as a shooter could make him attractive to any number of teams looking for scoring help.