Lakers Rumors: Breaking Down Buzz on Anthony Davis and Khris Middleton

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Howard Simmons)
Howard Simmons/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the most intriguing teams in the league when it comes to trade and free-agency rumors, given the presence of LeBron James, the team's collection of young players and their upcoming cap space.

Below, we'll break down two of the latest rumors.


Anthony Davis

According to Chris Sheridan of GetMoreSports.com, the Lakers are on Anthony Davis' shortlist if he ever leaves the New Orleans Pelicans, alongside the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

As for whether Davis will be moved this season, Sheridan wrote: "The determining factor in the short term will be the level of success the Pelicans do or do not have during the first half of the upcoming 2018-19 season. If they are middle-of-the-pack or worse in the competitive Western Conference, it is more likely than not that Davis will be moved before the trading deadline."

Obviously, the Lakers would jump at the chance to land Davis. But what would it take to get him to Los Angeles?

From a money perspective, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and his $12 million salary would have to be in the deal, as Sheridan noted. From there, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would almost certainly be included as well, alongside at least one more young piece like Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart or Moritz Wagner. 

A two-way superstar like Davis doesn't come cheap. He's a perennial MVP candidate, an elite rim-protector and a three-level scorer. Those players are rare. So if the Lakers want him, they can expect to part with most of their young talent.

Of course, the chance to pair Davis with LeBron James—and perhaps a free-agent addition this summer as well—would make that sacrifice more than worth the price. With James and Davis, the Lakers would be an instant threat to the Warriors, both this year and for the foreseeable future.


Khris Middleton

One of the free agents the Lakers could look to target this offseason is Milwaukee's Khris Middleton. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, "There will be opportunities to explore—both the Lakers and Clippers, sources say, will have interest in Middleton, and he'll have options with rebuilding teams such as New York, Dallas and Cleveland."

Landing Middleton will almost assuredly require a team to offer a max contract, with the Bucks wing establishing himself as one of the top two-way perimeter players in the NBA. The 27-year-old is averaging 19.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this year, shooting 42.6 percent from three.

The Bucks will likely open up the checkbook to keep Middleton paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo. But if Middleton hits free agency, teams will come calling. 

Imagine a Big Three in Los Angeles of James, Davis and Middleton. Or James, Kevin Durant and Middleton. Or how about James, Kawhi Leonard and Middleton?

Of course, it could be just as likely the Lakers end up with James, Kemba Walker and Middleton. Or just James and Middleton. Or James and the current crop of young Lakers. Nothing is guaranteed in free agency, though the Lakers name brand, combined with the opportunity to play with James, will be alluring for many players.

Middleton's ability to both play defense and space the floor for James with his ability to sink threes would make him an ideal running mate for The King, however. If Middleton doesn't return to Milwaukee, LA would make plenty of sense.