INDIANAPOLIS >> The Lakers have pulled out of conversations aimed at trying to acquire New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis because of the Pelicans’ “outrageous” trade requests, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps today that the Lakers Los Angeles had made their best offer, were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The person said the Lakers were not willing to give up the six to eight draft picks the Pelicans had sought for Davis.
Late Monday night, the Lakers had changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people with knowledge of the situation said.
The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said.
The Lakers were also willing to also send two first-round draft picks, they said.
The team was also offering to give the Pelicans the salary-cap relief they wanted by taking back Solomon Hill, who has another year left on his deal after this season for $12.7 million.
Over the course of their talks, the Lakers had made several changes to their proposals to the Pelicans, taking out a package that had included Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson, one of the sources said.
“They wanted more and more and more,” one source said. “There was no more to give. They had cap-relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted, the more it became outrageous and unrealistic.”
One person said the Pelicans are hopeful that if Davis isn’t traded by the NBA’s Thursday noon (PST) deadline, that he’ll want to stay and play for New Orleans going forward.
“But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”
After the Lakers’ shoot-around in preparation for Tuesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James was asked if he has followed the Davis trade saga.
James, who will play against the Pacers after missing Saturday night’s game at Golden State to provide him with what the Lakers called “load management,” said he followed the talks like every other player.
“I kind of tend not to play much fantasy basketball, that’s how I’ve always been,” James said. “If something were to occur with our team, whether it’s him or it’s somebody else throughout the trade deadline, we’ll approach it then. But right now this is the group that we have and we’re missing a key point of our team right now with (Lonzo Ball) being out, so we have to win ballgames.”
The Lakers have been adamant that they will not get into a bidding war this summer with the Boston Celtics, who are another team that has been associated with Davis, one source said.
The Lakers have even said that if the Pelicans revisit the trade during the summer, Los Angeles’ offer will be less than what it is now.
“We all know this is a business — it is a business — you go out and you prepare as a professional,” James said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s a business, so right now this is who we have, this is my group, this is the group I’m trying to lead out there to try and win ballgames. That’s all I’ve ever done. I always have.
“I’ve had teammates every year be a part of trade deadline discussions and things of that nature and we’ve always figured out to just shield that away and play the game. So, if guys happen to get traded, we know that’s the business side of things. It definitely hurts to lose teammates, especially at this point in the season, but it’s the business and it doesn’t mean that you’re fired and you don’t have a job, things of that nature, you still have a job, you’re still able to play the game that you love.”