(CBS Local)- The Los Angeles Lakers have been surrounded by drama already this offseason with President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson stepping down from his position and then turning the flamethrower on general manager Rob Pelinka this week on First Take. In the midst of that drama, Lakers fans are hoping that, armed with a ton of cap space and a new coach, the team can bring in some big names this offseason to help the team break its playoff drought.
The biggest dream dancing through fans heads is that the team will be able to package its 4th overall pick in this year’s draft with a combination of young players in order to trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis. However, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson doesn’t seem inclined to do a deal with the Lakers and CBSSports.com NBA writer James Herbert thinks that could wind up keeping the superstar from L.A.
“If the owner is not inclined to deal with you and negotiations have gone sour like in previous instances. That (Pelicans refusing to trade Davis to L.A.) can be a reality,” said Herbert in an interview with CBS Local. “Now, moving up in the lottery, that has to help. But, if we’re talking about that, we also have to talk about Brandon Ingram. I thought he played some of the best basketball of his career right at the end of this season. Now, you look at him and this blood clot stuff is super scary.”
Ingram is thought to have the most potential of any of the Lakers young prospects. In 52 games this past season, Ingram averaged 18 points five rebounds and three assists before being shut down for the year due to blood clots in his right arm. The diagnosis was deep venous thrombosis and no one is sure yet how Ingram will recover. That makes it more risky for a team to acquire him in a trade, which could derail any Davis talks.
“I think if you’re another team, of all the guys that the Lakers have, Ingram is still supposed to be the crown jewel of that package,” said Herbert. “Maybe now, the number four pick is the crown jewel of that package, but I don’t know if that’s enough to be better than what Boston might have on the table or whatever mystery team might have on the table.”
There is still the possibility that Davis could make it clear to the Pelicans and other teams that he only wants to play in L.A. giving them slightly less leverage at the negotiating table. But, even in that instance Herbert points out, new GM David Griffin could call Davis’ bluff and not trade him leading to a standoff as to whether he is really willing to sit out a full year of basketball or not. All in all, the Lakers hopes of acquiring Davis likely rest on the recovery of Ingram who, as of last month, still was not cleared to pick up a basketball.