In the NBA, when it comes to evaluating the best players in the world, talent and winning is key, but the bottom line is this: the best ability is availability.
And by that metric, both Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving came up woefully short last season.
That's why the rumor mill is buzzing that the Los Angeles Lakers might consider trading the former and the Brooklyn Nets may deal the latter.
In fact, the latest scuttlebutt around the league is centered around the idea that the Lakers and Nets would essentially swap Davis for Irving.
But according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, while L.A. is indeed interested in LeBron James' former Cleveland Cavaliers running mate, they are not willing to break up their current superstar duo to do it.
Meanwhile, Windhorst further reports that Brooklyn would only entertain dealing their mercurial star out West if, and only if, they get Davis in return.
That's not likely to happen for the Lakers this offseason, per Windhorst.
But the question isn't whether or not the trade will happen, it's whether or not it should happen.
The easy answer is maybe.
Based on the eye test, it's easy to determine that, when healthy, Davis is a much better player than Irving.
So on paper, they are very different, but their situations with their respective teams are very similar.
Davis only played 40 games for L.A. due to a litany of injuries to his knee, ankle and foot and his last game before his team missed the playoffs was April 5.
That date is significant because the eight-time All Star admitted that he hadn't picked up a basketball since his last game.
"I haven’t shot a basketball since, maybe, April 5," Davis said in a viral clip via the OVOLakeShow YouTube channel.
Irving suited up for Brooklyn just 29 times due to his refusal to take the vaccine for Covid-19, which kept him on the sidelines for home games until the protocols were lifted in the New York area.
Davis' absence was key to the Lakers missing the playoffs and Irving's decision to forgo the vaccine contributed to the Nets being swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
The similarities abound, but there's one important difference between the two: attitude.
Sure, Davis raised some eyebrows when he said he hadn't shot a basketball since April, but outside of that, he's proven that he's a winner and that he can be dominant when healthy.
He's also under contract already and isn't seeking to get a new deal.
Irving, on the other hand, wants a new long-term contract and Brooklyn doesn't seem to want to oblige due to his questionable decisions.
The seven-time All Star is also a proven winner...when he's on the court.
But based on his history and how the 2021-22 season played out, the Nets aren't sure about his commitment to the team or the NBA.
These concerns are valid and he's playing alongside one of his best friends in the league in Kevin Durant.
There's no reason to think that things will get better in that regard if he then goes back to playing with King James.
He's already left James hanging in Cleveland, so Lakers fans are justified in feeling wary of the idea of their reunion.
L.A. has a new head coach, so it's easy to think about starting fresh when it comes to the roster, but in this case, the front office needs to think about winning in the future, as well as about winning now.
At 29, Davis is still young and is a bonafide franchise player they can build around when James decided to hang up his sneakers.
He was also very instrumental in winning their championship two years ago.
The Lakers need to remember that, even if it seems as if no one else does.