Anthony Davis has missed significant time throughout the last two seasons with varying injuries, and LeBron James, 37, will enter his 20th season next year. AD’s fragility has led many fans and experts to scream, “Trade AD. He’s always injured!” At the same time, LeBron’s age has pushed some fans and writers into dreaming up wild rebuilding trades centered around this generation’s most valuable player.
Should the Lakers trade LBJ or AD?
It’s true Anthony Davis has been sidelined several times over the last couple of seasons. Several other superstars have also missed considerable playing time. Have a look:
Anthony Davis: 76 games played throughout the last two seasons
Kawhi Leonard: 52 games played throughout the last two seasons
Paul George: 83 games played throughout the last two seasons
Kevin Durant: 87 games played throughout the last two seasons
Damian Lillard: 96 games played throughout the last two seasons
AD joins several elite NBA players who have played under 100 games during the last two seasons. Still, you don’t hear Brooklyn fans chanting, “Trade KD. Trade KD!” Nor do you hear Clippers or Trail Blazers diehards creating trade scenarios on message boards across the internet.
The narrative surrounding Anthony Davis is unfair. Over the last two years, he’s suffered several unfortunate injuries, including having a player pushed into his knee by his teammate LeBron and landing on Rudy Gobert’s oversized shoe, going for a rebound. Despite Davis’s range of minor issues, he’s never suffered a major, athletic-sapping injury that might reduce his future value and effectiveness.
Anthony Davis, 29, is smack in the middle of his prime, a top-10 player who is good for 20-plus points nightly while playing some of the most effective inside-out defense of the last 20 years. The Lakers would be crazy to trade AD because he’s suffered through a couple of injury-plagued seasons. It’s challenging (to say the least) to acquire superstar talent. When you’re lucky enough to land a generational talent like Davis who wants to play for your organization, you don’t overplay your hand by making an over reactionary, shortsighted deal. The Lakers need to keep their talented big man.
LeBron James is 37-years-old, and while he’s shown no sign of slowing down on offense, many fans have taken exception to his lackluster play on defense. Over the last 20 games or so, LBJ has shown next to no interest in getting stops, but can you blame him?
Since the All-Star break, LeBron James’s three most reliable teammates have been undrafted rookie Austin Reaves, mid-season pick up Stanley Johnson, and minimum contract offense-first Malik Monk. That’s not exactly a winning combination. LeBron James could have broken his back to get stops over the last couple of months, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
LeBron James has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s second in the league in scoring at 30.3 points per game, and he still plays above the rim, hitting multiple rim crushing dunks nightly. LBJ hasn’t lost his side-to-side mobility or strength, and when needed, he’s one of the best pure perimeter defenders in the league. James is more than capable of shutting down the most potent offensive weapons in the NBA across multiple late-game possessions.
LeBron James is a top-5 player, and despite his age, the Lakers would be incredibly foolish to trade him.