Rob Pelinka: Anthony Davis Trade 'History-Shifting' Moment for Lakers Franchise

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) wears a T-shirt with 'That's All, Folks,' printed on it during player introduction before an NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors in New Orleans, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)
Scott Threlkeld/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers officially introduced Anthony Davis as a member of the organization at a press conference on Saturday. 

General manager Rob Pelinka told reporters the addition of Davis is a "history-shifting" moment for the Lakers. 

Describing Davis' talents on the court, Pelinka didn't mince words when discussing the impact he believes the six-time All-Star will have on the franchise. 

"There is no more complete basketball player in the game," he said, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet. There is nothing he can't do. He can shoot. He can make plays. He can defend 1-5. He can protect the rim. He can handle the ball. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled."

When Davis took the microphone, his expectation is the Lakers will be able compete with anyone in the NBA next season. 

“I’ll put our roster up against anybody," Davis said, via Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. "In a seven-game series, I think we’ll come out victorious.”

Pelinka went all in to make sure the Lakers got Davis to pair with LeBron James next season. 

Los Angeles traded six players, three draft picks and the draft rights to 2019 No. 4 pick De'Andre Hunter as part of a three-team deal with the New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards for Davis. That move also created more than $32 million in cap space and kept them in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes before he eventually decided to join the Los Angeles Clippers

Davis said he found out about the deal by checking Instagram because when it initially happened he was watching a movie:

One big change for Davis next season will be the number on his jersey. James intended to give Davis No. 23, but Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Nike didn't approve the switch after producing Lakers jerseys with James still using the number. 

When the trade was first reported in June, The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks called Davis the best teammate James has ever played alongside:

"He has averaged at least 25 points and 11 rebounds in each of the past three seasons, and he’s coming off career highs in 3-point attempts (2.6 per game) and assists (3.9 per game). It’s not just that he and James will instantly form one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in the league. LeBron has never played with a big man who can create shots for him like Davis, or who could cover for him as well on defense."

James almost feels like he's in a position where he has to prove himself all over again. He's no longer the consensus best player in the NBA anymore on the heels of Leonard's postseason run with the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the 2018-19 MVP award at the age of 24. 

At 34 years old, James showed signs of wear and tear last season. He missed a career-high 27 games, including 17 straight from Dec. 27-Jan. 29 due to a groin injury. 

Putting Davis next to James eases a lot of the burden put on the four-time NBA MVP during his first season with the Lakers. If this pairing works out like Pelinka hopes it will, the franchise's six-year playoff drought will come to an end in 2019-20. 

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