It Was a Good Day, by Rudy Ralph Martinez
Not even three days after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first NBA championship, the Los Angeles Lakers, who already employ the talents of LeBron James, made a long-awaited trade for all-NBA forward Anthony Davis. Three days! A week ago, the Lakers were a mess: They had failed to trade for Davis at the NBA’s trade deadline in February, Magic Johnson had stepped down from his role as team President, subsequently using ESPN as a platform to talk smack about General Manager Rob Pelinka, and the team failed to hire former Cavaliers coach Tyron Lue, the man who coached LeBron’s Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA Championship, instead settling for former Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
This blockbuster trade, one of the biggest in NBA history, marks the beginning to what promises to be the most intriguing offseason since 2010, providing us with plenty to discuss while pretending to care about Summer League games. The Lakers gave up the following in what is one of the biggest trades in NBA history:
· Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
· Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
· Josh Hart, 2016 NCAA Champion as a member of the Villanova Wildcats and a brilliant perimeter defender.
· Three first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this Thursday’s NBA Draft (which the Lakers had no business in getting in the first place).
· Half of the iconic Hollywood sign and Fats Domino’s star on the Walk of Fame (which is going to be placed somewhere on Bourbon Street and will be surely be thrown up on numerous times by sorority and fraternity members from across the country before the start of next season).
Upon initial review, it seems the Lakers gave up too much, right?
Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are two young players with all-star potential and Josh Hart could one day be an indispensable piece on a championship team. And those draft picks could hinder the Lakers’ post-LeBron rebuild. Who gives a damn? If you thought LeBron was going to spend the next three years babysitting the Lakers as he waltzed into his mid-to-late-thirties, you don’t know anything about LeBron or the Lakers. The Lakers go after the superstars and they’ve done so successfully two summers in a row. Anthony Davis, 26-years-old, is a top five player in the NBA who is just entering his prime. It’s also important to note the Lakers being able to keep ascendant forward Kyle Kuzma, another extremely young player with an extremely high ceiling, and the player I always thought the Lakers should keep in any trade for Davis.
As of this past Saturday, the Lakers aren’t just legitimate contenders in the Western Conference, especially considering the injuries to Warriors superstars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, they’re my favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship. This is assuming the Lakers avoid catastrophic injuries themselves and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard doesn’t sign with LA’s Second Squad, the Clippers. Hell, Leonard could even end up on the Lakers when it’s all said and done (I don’t think anyone outside his immediate circle, i.e., his uncle, quite knows what his plans are).
Sure, free agency hasn’t even started, and the Lakers have all but five players under contract but they’re already better than the Denver Nuggets (still a year or two away from contending for a championship), Portland Trailblazers (2019’s overachievers), and Houston Rockets (mired in too much disarray). This is how much I trust the James-Davis duo. Rather, this is how excited I am to witness the James-Davis duo. Have you pictured those fast breaks, yet? I don’t give a damn who’s running the point as long as they can throw a lob. Showtime, baby! Okay, so it’s mostly excitement lightly seasoned with trust in LeBron being eager to finish his career as a winner. But with all due respect to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and somewhat less so to Kyrie Irving (who might join me in Brooklyn in a couple of weeks), Anthony Davis is the most talented teammate LeBron will ever have.
The Pelicans, who in a matter of days will call mega-athlete Zion Williamson one of their own, have truly set themselves up for a bright future, shout out to executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. They have a bevy of assets, the NBA’s most underrated guard in Jrue Holiday, and have disposed themselves of a guy who didn’t want to be there. But that discussion can wait.
For now, let us revel in Los Angeles being the center of the basketball world yet again.
 The Summer LeBron took his talents to South Beach.
 New York, where you at?