Lakers News: Jeanie Buss Says She Made Final Decision on Anthony Davis Trade in 2019

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 10, 2022

EL SEGUNDO, CA - September 20: Jeanie Buss, CEO / Governor / Co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, appears as the Lakers host a 2021-2022 season kick-off event to unveil and announce a new global marketing partnership with Bibigo, which will appear on the Lakers jersey at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers majority governor Jeanie Buss provided the final approval for the Anthony Davis trade in 2019.

Buss addressed the deal on the Hulu series Legacy: The True Story of the Los Angeles Lakers (via Brad Sullivan of LakersDaily.com) and called it "a moment of truth." She added that "ultimately, it was my decision to push the button."

Generally, you expect the team owner to leave basketball matters to the front office, and having the owner involve themselves in personnel moves can backfire in a big way.

The Davis trade is one of the exceptions where you'd assume the general manager would reach out to the owner for a blessing.

The move meant significantly altering the roster, with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and multiple picks going to the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis was also due to be a free agent in 2020, so if you're GM Rob Pelinka, you'd want assurances from Buss a max extension would be earmarked for the budget. The eight-year All-Star ultimately got a five-year, $189.9 million contract.

The Lakers' 2020 championship doesn't happen without Davis, who averaged 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor in the postseason. That title alone justified signing LeBron James and then mortgaging the future to land Davis.

What has transpired since then has brought deserved criticism toward Buss and Pelinka, and they've witnessed the risk behind building around Davis, who played in 86 combined games over the last two years.

In hindsight, you'd still do the trade all over again even if the 29-year-old hasn't become a transcendent figure like other legends who have worn the purple and gold.