The Lakers are getting off to a slow start to the season and business rumors have started swirling around Anthony Davis. Given the New York Knicks’ tendency to be associated with every big-name player in the NBA, some rumors are swirling about what it might be for New York to acquire Davis.
One such fiction was posted on Bleacher Report on TuesdayA Knicks and Lakers deal proposal that went like this:
The Los Angeles Lakers received five first-round picks from the New York Knicks for RJ Barrett, Michelle Robinson, Obie Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Anthony Davis.
Despite how much LeBron James would love this trade, we were forced to explain that this deal, or indeed any deal for Davis, simply wouldn’t work for New York.
For starters, the Knicks aren’t going to send the Lakers five first-round picks for Anthony Davis.
The Cavs sent only three first-round picks as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade. The Hawks sent three first-round picks as part of the DeJonte Murray deal.
The Jazz were able to offer five first-round picks in the deal for Rudy Gobert, but one of them was a pick swap, making it actually four first-round picks and two of them from the 2027 and 2029 drafts, the Knicks pick. Much further down the line than.
But this also leads us to our next point: Anthony Davis is no longer the property he once was.
One of the reasons Gobert was able to bring such a package is because he is easily the best interior defender in the NBA and potentially the best overall defender in the NBA.
Last year, He finished first in the defensive rating, 14.7 rebounds and carried in 2.1 blocks. Anthony Davis was not ranked in the top 25. In 2020-21, Rudy Gobert also leads the NBA in defensive ratingsWhile Davis was similarly not in the top 25.
Now, part of this is that Davis has only played 76 games in the past two seasons, but that would be another factor in why this trade didn’t work out.
Davis is now 29 years old and has not played more than 62 matches in a season since 2017-18. He remains an effective defensive presence when he is on the court, averaging 2.1 blocks and 9.2 rebounds per game during his time with the Lakers. He has also been an effective scorer averaging 24.1 points on 51% shooting.
He would effectively replace Mitchell Robinson as a staunch interior defender in this scenario, but also a major upgrade as both an offensive scorer and an interior defender.
A group of Davis, Julius Randall, Jalen Brunson, and Emmanuel Quickley will place the floor well and have enough offensive versatility to score more effectively than the current Knicks lineup. This is not a question.
However, the business just doesn’t make sense for the Knicks for a few reasons.
For one, it doesn’t address his biggest weakness of the three-point shooting defense. Grimes is the Knicks’ best perimeter guard and can be a starter for them when they are healthy. Replacing Robinson in the opening five with Davis doesn’t really address the issues Randall has in defense against pick and roll.
Similarly, New York will tackle two players who have made clear moves on the offensive in RJ Barrett and Obie Toppin. Knicks are better when Toppin is on the floor and, if anything, moving Randall to clear more minutes for Toppin would make more sense than moving Toppin away and scoring more on Randall’s plate. He can already stop the flow of crime.
In the end, New York made it clear that they were expecting some long-term build-up by receiving selections in the final draft and not using them for an immediate deal. He has interesting young talent in Brunson, Barrett, Toppin, Quickley and Grimes and is equipped with five first-round picks in the next two drafts and seven in the next three. That’s more than enough ammunition to produce a true contender with young, controllable talent.
Throwing all that in to get the former Superstar who has been injured on a repeat will be the Knicks of the old, not the Knicks of the new we’ve been hoping for.