(CBS Sports Radio) As the Los Angeles Lakers search for a star to pair with LeBron James, Anthony Davis is a name that keeps coming up.
For Davis, the appeal to playing with James is obvious.
“The Lakers are right up near the top,” Washington Post NBA writer Ben Golliver said Wednesday on "Reiter Than You."
“You have a legitimate MVP player already in place; a guy who is going to be able to set you up, get you lots of easy baskets; a guy who’s going to be able to, frankly, raise your profile, make you more famous, get you on the cover of everything, and probably sell more Nike sneakers and jerseys than you’ve ever dreamed of.”
Golliver thinks the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors could also make a play for the 25-year-old.
“If I’m Anthony Davis, the Warriors are really appealing for a lot of the same reasons that they were appealing to Kevin Durant in terms of instantly putting you in the championship conversation,” Golliver said. “Huge market, great culture that will keep the minutes off you and help you extend your career as long as possible. So I think that they should be mentioned when we’re looking at these different teams.
“But the L.A. angle is just fascinating,” Golliver continued. “They’re going to have the flexibility to do it, and they’re going to have some young players to potentially put into a trade package. I think if you have those two guys together on the court together next season, to me you can just pencil them into the Western Conference Finals. They would become the clear-cut top-two team in the West. If you’re Anthony Davis, who’s only won one playoff series in his whole career, that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?”
Davis is signed through 2021, but has a player option in 2020. James, though, isn’t getting any younger. If the Lakers want him, they will likely have to make a trade – which means parting with coveted assets.
“If I was the Pelicans, I would insist on both (Brandon) Ingram and (Kyle) Kuzma. I would insist on Lonzo Ball, too,” Golliver said. “I’m still a believer in Lonzo. I know he’s not the most consistent player, but I think he’s a positive contributor. I think that would be the base of the package that I would want coming back from L.A.”
None of those players, however, can match Davis in value.
“There’s question marks with all those guys,” Golliver said. “Kuzma, to me, is still not a plus defender. Ingram has had some consistency issues. I think he tends to float at times. He’s not really a 3-point shooter. And Lonzo, he’s an unbelievable passer, but he’s not really a prototypical NBA point guard. He’s not a pick-and-roll, leader-type point guard. He’s more of just a quick-hitting pass-type guy. So none of those guys are truly A-list prospects.”
If the Pelicans shop Davis to the Celtics, they would likely want 20-year-old Jayson Tatum in return. Boston might not part with him, but New Orleans would absolutely make the request.
“If you’re New Orleans, you want a big name,” Golliver said, “a perennial future All-Star-type player coming back if you’re going to trade Anthony Davis in his prime.”