SportsPulse: The NBA offseason was just wild. As training camps get underway Trysta Krick digests, debriefs and explains all the crazy moves made with a map. Take notes and get ready.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Even before he wore his Los Angeles Lakers uniform, Anthony Davis seemed comfortable.
LeBron James reiterated that the offense should run through Davis. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka allowed James and Davis to exert some influence in the team’s front-office decision making. Davis even spent part of his summer filming “Space Jam 2.”
So far, the Lakers seemingly have everything Davis would want. And why not? After all, his representatives publicly requested the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Davis leading into last season’s trade deadline. So there is no way Davis would want to leave the Lakers after he becomes a free agent next summer, right?
“I just want to focus on this year,” Davis said at the Lakers’ media day on Friday. “Coming here, the Lakers definitely welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like this was home. But at the same time, it’s about what we can do this year. We have a special team, special unit, special coaching staff and we’re going to do whatever we can to focus on this year and try to come out victorious.”
Safe to say that the Lakers’ NBA championship fortunes would factor in Davis’ decision. After all, Davis became increasingly frustrated during his seven-year stint with the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite landing six NBA All-Star appearances and three spots on the All-NBA first-team, the Pelicans reached the playoffs in only two of those seasons. Never did they advance past the second round. Hence, Davis’ reps demanded a trade after making it clear to the Pelicans’ front office he had no plans to sign an extension this summer.
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Beyond winning, the Lakers are trying to make Davis comfortable in other ways.
The biggest component involves Davis’ role itself. James reiterated that Lakers coach Frank Vogel needs to make Davis the primary focus in his system after averaging a 23.7 points on 51.7 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds per game during his seven seasons with the Pelicans. James praised Davis for having a “beautiful young mind” that should not go to waste.
“If we are not playing through Anthony Davis while he is on the floor, there’s no sense to have him on the floor,” James said. “He’s that great. It doesn’t mean every time down, we throw it to him, we throw it to him, we throw it to him. But we have the ability of doing it.”
James’ words starkly contrast what Kobe Bryant said about Dwight Howard prior to the 2012-13 season. Just like the 34-year-old James wants to reduce his workload and transition the 26-year-old Davis into the Lakers’ next star, the 34-year-old Bryant had similar plans for the 27-year-old How