By Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr)
Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers!! Stop the presses there is collusion, LeBron is tampering, OMG!!! He needs to be stopped!!
S L O W D O W N!
Let’s be clear, I am a LeBron James fan, often called Reezy Sharpe, a play on Shannon Sharpe, LeBron’s starch defender, but I am aware of business and I do think there is fishy business here, but not where we think it might be. Strap in and let’s walk through the real problems with this deal.
Where did this start?
This is the question and shout out to deadspin.com for helping with the answer. On a December interview on ESPN Woj said the following:
“They’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they’ve got to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer pre- or post-free agency. That’s why they’ve looked at players who are on one-year deals who don’t have money going forward.”
That is very specific. Why would Woj say that? We all know he is reliable, but by all accounts, this is the moment that world knew what the Lakers intentions were. This is the problematic moment.
From that LeBron James said the following to Dave McMenamin during pre-game activities regarding Anthony Davis possibly coming to the Lakers that same evening:
“That would be amazing, that would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
Why did he say that? Was he asked either directly about Anthony Davis being traded or about Woj’s interview? Did he find Dave McMenamin to issue an unprovoked statement? The ESPN articles are interestingly vague on the matter, but the intended response was not.
Instant “Outrage” for $200 Alex
Media ran with the juicy take and let it flow out to the world, On cue General Managers are accusing Lebron of tampering and prohibiting the smaller markets from keeping talent. Charles Barkley has requested that Adam Silver intervene and veto any deal. All of the attention is set on this deal which makes any negotiation that much more complicated. That is rather intriguing to me, so I ask why?
Sometimes where this smoke, there is simply smoke.
The Lakers have been fined for tampering before, so they deserve a scrutiny in the eye of the public as it is public record that the Lakers are looking to add talent to their roster but is this collusion. The very short answer is no, the longer answer is its complicated. Let’s break it down.
Did LeBron James signal the Lakers to do something? No, Absolutely not! According to Woj, Anthony Davis was already on the Lakers list, which would imply that the Lakers were already planning something. With LeBron James locked into a 4-year deal and no signs of requesting to be traded himself (Twitter would have exploded if he did), at best LeBron James is being coy about not knowing it was in the plans, at worst he is merely reacting to what he heard.
Did the Lakers signal LeBron to say something? Possibly, but it depends on a lot of things happening. Woj would have needed to have been fed information that he would of course report on, which would have aired at the time LeBron was set to play, which in turn would require ESPN to give LeBron the opportunity to say what he said. In other words, ESPN would either be the co-conspirator or the unwitting pawn.
What about Rich Paul? Complicated as hell but let’s navigate through it. Antony Davis did sign with Rich Paul over the summer who is also LeBron James’ agent along with numerous other players. If LeBron James had ownership in Klutch Sports we can then talk about conflict of interest, and higher degrees of ethical violations, but he does not, so LeBron is merely a client and advocate. Yes! LeBron and Rich Paul are friends, but there are no legal implications about clients being friends with each other or their agents.
But LeBron James went to dinner with Anthony Davis? They also played together on the Olympics, which the NBA sanctioned. Im sure they established a friendship. Here is where the gray area comes in. Could Lebron James be coaching Anthony Davis? I have absolutely no clue and will not speculate. If LeBron James provided information to Anthony Davis that would indicate the opportune time to make a move, that would be where the fire is! There are no reports about that happening so we shouldn’t feed the flames with fake information.
In short, I have never been a fan of business seeping into the game of the NBA during the season, but that is the reality as we have seen it with the Pistons, regarding Coach Larry Brown, the Cavaliers on multiple occasions regarding LeBron and Kyrie, Carmelo Anthony during whatever year pops in your head, Kyrie with Boston, etc, etc. If I put my tin foil hat on, I suspect that there is a push to repopulate the superstar map to normalize and rebalance the team structure and this is the first attempt. There is a high chance that this deal won’t happen as everyone is on high alert and to be clear on where the fault lies, I would list in order:
ESPN – Notorious for mishandling information, this one is completely botched by them. It is their norm to attempt to own both sides of the argument and they are not disappointing here. The entire preface of this situation feels orchestrated
LA Lakers – You simply cannot be fined for tampering and then allow information to leak that you are seeking specific talent. Poor management here! You must have multiple strategies in place and the front office is single minded right now. They must do better.
LeBron James – His reputation for understanding the business and being steadfast in doing it his way will always precede him. Because he has and uses his influence folks are apprehensive of all actions surrounding him.