Why Kobe Bryant thinks Lakers should trade young core for Anthony Davis

Why Kobe Bryant thinks Lakers should trade young core for Anthony Davis

When the Anthony Davis rumor mill was going warp speed prior to the NBA trade deadline, many thought the Los Angeles Lakers would be crazy to trade their entire young core for Anthony Davis. 

Not surprisingly, Kobe Bryant wasn't in that camp.

The Lakers legend was asked about the rumored deal that would have sent Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, among others, to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Davis, and he gave a very simple reason for why the Lakers should have pulled the trigger.

“Kuzma, Lonzo, Ingram ... are the three of them better than Anthony Davis? No! Ciao! Bye!," Bryant told Spanish website As.com, via Yahoo! Sports.

"Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the world. Not currently, in history. What are we talking about? If you can trade for Anthony Davis, you do it. If not, alright. We have three players who are very young and work hard. They’re smart and they have to develop. But if you can trade for Anthony Davis ... yes.”

Fair enough.

The deal, of course, never materialized and the Lakers, who once were thought to be the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, have faded from the playoff race faster than LeBron James bolted from the Cleveland Cavaliers' locker room in 2010.

Through the first two months of the season, the Lakers appeared to be on track for a top-four seed in the West. But injuries and trade rumors derailed their season and now they'll face an uncertain offseason before James enters his 17th NBA season, while the Warriors are primed to make a run at winning their fourth NBA title in five seasons. 

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If you ask the Black Mamba, the Lakers should pull the trigger on a trade for Davis the minute the offseason starts in order to vault themselves back to the top of the conference alongside the Warriors.

But that, of course, is easier said than done.

With Anthony Davis, Lakers start arms race to take Warriors crown

USA Today

With Anthony Davis, Lakers start arms race to take Warriors crown

The Warriors have gotten used to being the 'hunted' over the last half-decade.

Over the span, the rest of the NBA has been in an arms race to catch them, to no avail. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, achieved the greatest five year run in NBA history. 

Now - after the 2019 NBA Finals loss to the Raptors crippled of Durant and Klay Thompson - the rest of the league is primed to permanently end the dynasty. 

The latest example comes out of Los Angeles, where the Lakers - who will open their preseason against the Warriors Oct. 5 in to open San Francisco's Chase Center - have traded for superstar Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, shipping out Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the number four pick in Thursday's draft. More intriguing, the team could have between $27 and $32 million in cap space combined with a free agency pool that includes Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker. 

Since 2014, the Warriors have grown accustomed to arms races against them. Most notably the Houston Rockets - admittedly obsessed with the Warriors - who traded for Chris Paul in 2017 to achieve common footing. More recently - with James out of the Eastern Conference - Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri traded for Kawhi Leonard, a move that ultimately dethroned the Warriors two days ago. 

However, the Lakers' move comes at a unique time of peril in Golden State. Entering free agency, their two top targets - Durant and Thompson - will enter 2019-20 season expected to sit out at least half the season with major rehabilitation timetables. With both players expected to command maximum salary slots, the Warriors will enter next season - if both decide to re-sign - with two top players on the bench and little cap space to get better. 

It's appropriate the Lakers are the first team this summer to make a move toward championship consideration. For the last half-century, the franchise was everything the Warriors dynasty currently is. A healthy, star driven franchise that's had the likes of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant donning its colors, helping the franchise win 15 titles. However, since 2013, the franchise hasn't reached the postseason, building a reputation for more off-court drama than on-court wins. Two months ago, Johnson - the team's Vice President of Basketball Operations - abruptly stepped down before the team's final regular season game, citing trust issues with general manager Rob Pelinka. 

Now - with the addition of Davis - the Lakers could be back to contending for titles. With its cap-space, they can bring at least one more near max player on the roster. 

As for the Warriors, more questions linger. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney will be free agents and the team will have to decide whether to extend a qualifying offer to second-year big man Jordan Bell. Worse, of the players with all-star experience, only Stephen Curry and Draymond Green will be expected full participants when training camp opens in September. 

Following Thursday's elimination, Draymond Green said it wouldn't be smart to count out the Warriors, citing their championship pedigree. Time will tell whether his words will ring true, but as the Lakers proved Saturday afternoon, the rest of the league is coming for their crown out West. 

NBA rumors: Kemba Walker Lakers' 'top target' after Anthony Davis trade

NBA rumors: Kemba Walker Lakers' 'top target' after Anthony Davis trade

After missing the playoffs in LeBron James' first season, the Lakers are re-tooling their roster, and it appears it will be an impressive overhaul.

After reportedly agreeing to acquire All-Star center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in a trade Saturday, the Lakers have their eyes on free-agent point guard Kemba Walker. In fact, the New York Times' Marc Stein reported that Walker will be the Lakers’ "top target.”

The Lakers need a point guard after including former No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball in the package headed to New Orleans for Davis.

With the Warriors wounded heading into the 2019-20 season, the Lakers see an opportunity to jump back to the top of the Western Conference. A starting lineup featuring Walker, LeBron, Kyle Kuzma and Davis would be scary, and should do some damage next season.

[RELATED: Finding hope for Warriors fans]

Look out, NBA. Here come the Lakers.