The Los Angeles Lakers attempted multiple times to trade for Anthony Davis earlier this month.
Yet after multiple offers, the Pelicans declined — instead electing to hold Davis until after the season before making a trade.
Before the Lakers’ 143-120 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday — just days after the trade deadline — Lakers president Magic Johnson slammed New Orleans leadership, and said they operated in bad faith during negotiations.
“We knew that basically at the end of the day, what happened, happened,” Johnson said on Sunday, via the Los Angeles Times. “And we knew that when we first started, in terms of what happened. But hey, it is what it is.”
“Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies, because that’s what you’re treating them like. They’re professionals. All of them.” pic.twitter.com/UdAWCrDFnT
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 10, 2019
The Lakers acquiring Davis has been the talk of the NBA for months — even well before Davis publicly asked to be traded from New Orleans. Many accused LeBron James and the Lakers of tampering in their efforts to land the star.
Johnson, though, said their talks with New Orleans were nothing out of the ordinary. The fact that it was so publicized, he said, still didn’t change anything.
“All deals are — a lot of them are made in public,” Johnson said via the Los Angeles Times. “We didn’t make it in public, but that’s part of it. That’s what happens, man. We’ve got big boys here and they bounce back. They’re fine.”
Several offers the Lakers made included trading away nearly the entire young core on the team — something that caused controversy in the locker room in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
“Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies because that’s what you’re treating them like,” Johnson said, via the Los Angeles Times. “They’re professionals. All of them. And this is how this league works. They know it, I know it, that’s how it goes.
“So we’ve got to move forward, and we are moving forward. They played outstanding against Boston, give them credit. And we want to play well today and continue on. This is a part of the league. You’ve got a good side of the business that we get paid to be professional basketball players, but then there’s deals like this.”
Despite not landing Davis, Johnson said his plans for this next offseason haven’t changed.
“It’s a great (free agency) class, and we just want to get one of them,” Johnson said, via ESPN.
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