Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.
Thursday was one of those times.
The LeBrons, ah, Lakers walked away from a preposterous offer to the New Orleans Pelicans of basically their entire team, and eight draft picks, in return for superstar center Anthony Davis.
Like Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan before him, LeBron James reminded us anew that he is a Hall of Famer as a player, not a general manager.
Unless the Lakers were planning to join The Big Three, their desperation to land Davis — and please LeBron, and not necessarily in that order — was preposterous.
If not potentially apocalyptic.
Any thought of trading Kyle Kuzma is short-sighted.
Now, had the Lakers convinced the Pelicans to take Lonzo Ball, his two brothers and their father, it would have been the deal of the year in the NBA.
Notwithstanding the month-long injured absence of LBJ, the Lakers are still within striking distance of the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Plus, they can eventually sign Davis in free agency, and add him to the young nucleus they were ready to sacrifice this week.
What’s so intriguing about this potential deal, which makes the Green New Deal look like genius by comparison, are the echoes of history.
When the 2011 NBA lockout finally ended, the Lakers had a deal in place with New Orleans to acquire perennial all-star point guard Chris Paul.
NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in to scuttle the deal in the name of competitive balance.
Instead, Paul went to the Clippers.
His alliance with Blake Griffin bestowed instant credibility and legitimacy.
The Clippers, not the Lakers, won the Pacific Division title and went to the playoffs every year.
Laker fans feel about David Stern the way Trojan fans feel about NCAA sanctions.
They blame the nuked Paul trade, not the Time Warner Cable sellout and subsequent curse, for a decade in which the Lakers have plummeted unceremoniously from the NBA heavens.
In an echo of the Paul George fiasco, New Orleans was determined not to give Davis his wish and send him to Los Angeles.
Just a coincidence, you think, that the Lakers lost to INDIANA by 42 points the day the Pelicans gave the Lakers the same up-yours the Pacers did two years ago?
One of the great bar bets you can win is to ask who were the last team to beat the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.
It was Paul and Griffin and the 2014 Clippers, in the second year of the Lakers’ playoff diaspora.
The playoffs, and the future, are still there for the taking for the Lakers.
The Louisiana Swindle would have wrecked both.