The Lakers have pulled out of conversations aimed at trying to acquire New Orleans All-Star forward 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 on Tuesday morning that the Lakers had made their best offer, were not willing to add anything else and were done with negotiations, 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 sought for Davis.
The Lakers later Tuesday agreed in principle to acquire Reggie Bullock from Detroit for rookie Svi Mykhailiuk and a second-round draft pick, a person with knowledge of the situation said. The trade was to be completed Wednesday.
The Lakers wanted Bullock, 27, because of his shooting — this season he’s making 38.8% of his three-pointers and 87.5% of his free throws. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward is averaging 12.1 points and 30.8 minutes in 44 games this season.
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 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 two people said.
Over the course of their talks, the Lakers made several changes to their proposals, one person said.
“They wanted more and more and more,” one person 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 Davis will want to play for New Orleans beyond this season if he isn’t traded by the NBA deadline at noon PST on Thursday.
“But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”
After the Lakers’ shootaround before Tuesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James said he followed the trade 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 [Ball] being out, so we have to win ballgames.”
The Lakers have 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.”