Anthony Davis trade: Lakers icon Kobe pleads for Pelicans approach | Other | Sport

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That’s the verdict of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Davis informed the New Orleans Pelicans last week that he wants out of the franchise, putting the Lakers on red alert as they seek elite-level talent to surround LeBron James with.

The Pelicans big man is eligible to sign a five-year, $240million supermax contract this summer but is keen to leave and join a team capable of winning a championship.

New Orleans have gone just 23-31 this season despite having the 25-year-old – viewed as one of the top-five players in the NBA – on their roster and have never put together a serious playoff push in their six-and-a-half years with Davis.

And while the Lakers’ record only sees them in 10th in the Western Conference, the presence of LeBron James at Staples Center means they will always offer a threat in the post-season.

That was shown when the 34-year-old returned from injury and immediately lifted the Lakers to a big ‘road’ win over the LA Clippers, with the Lakers’ young core having gone 6-11 in his absence including shock home losses to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

But in order to add Davis before the NBA trade deadline this Thursday, the Lakers could have to give up all of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball plus a number of veterans and first-round draft picks.

And while Kobe – a five-time champion with the Lakers – believes L.A. have a ‘win now’ mentality, he thinks they should be careful on trading the full house for six-time All-Star Davis.

“It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and what your long-term objectives are,” Kobe told ESPN’s Rachel Nicholls when asked if the Lakers should put everything on the table for Davis.

“By signing LeBron you’re already making an indication that you want to win now. 

“So I think it’d be a smart thing to do for the Lakers to look at that. 

“But at the same time, you’ve got to play a little bit of poker.”

Davis was fined $50,000 for violating NBA rules by allowing agent Rich Paul to publicly demand a trade from the Pelicans.

The NBA felt that Paul’s comments to ESPN acted as an “intention effort to undermine the contractual relationship between Davis and the Pelicans” given the forward cannot become a free agent until 2020.

Yet Bryant believes Davis – who claimed he and his people did not want to make his trade desire public – should be allowed to express his wishes.

“He’s got a right to do what the hell he wants to do,” Kobe said of Davis’ trade request.

“Teams have the right to trade players, players should have the freedom to say and voice their opinion. 

“You can agree with it, you can disagree with it. But AD still has a right to say what he wants to say.”



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