Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson will meet with the team this weekend after the Lakers' public pursuit of Anthony Davis failed to end in a trade for the New Orleans Pelicans star.
According to the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner, Johnson will "[emphasize] that the NBA is a business and that this franchise is about winning championships and doing all it can to accomplish that goal." Johnson will also allow the Lakers players to vent any grievances they might have with the front office.
The Lakers were apparently prepared to significantly reshuffle their roster if it meant landing Davis before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
On Tuesday, Turner reported Los Angeles had offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round picks. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Lakers lost by 42 points to the Pacers hours after Turner's report.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium had also reported Sunday the Lakers locker room had been a "heated scene" after some of the team's more experienced players got into an argument with head coach Luke Walton. Both Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee took issue with the characterization of the closed-door exchange.
As it looked more and more likely the Pelicans weren't going to trade Davis to the Lakers, some wondered whether sowing dissension among the ranks in L.A. was New Orleans' goal all along.
Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said "it's not just possible, it's what happened." 👀 https://t.co/wki2hDPaEs
The Lakers earned a big 129-128 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, with Rajon Rondo hitting a buzzer-beater. Perhaps that victory will be a turning point in Los Angeles' season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a similar moment last year after the trade deadline when they significantly altered what was a flawed squad. During and immediately after a 121-99 demolition of the Celtics, LeBron James looked like a happier player, and the Cavs eventually reached a fourth straight NBA Finals.
Of course, that situation isn't entirely a parallel for the Lakers, since Los Angeles was unable to make any major moves before the deadline expired. This is mostly the same team that struggled mightily without James and still has clear issues even when he's on the court.
In addition, Johnson will have to placate the young stars he was willing to sacrifice in order to trade for Davis.