In most professional sports leagues, one player being traded in the middle of the season doesn’t have all that much impact on who will win the championship. But in the NBA, one star player moving teams can be the difference between a team winning a championship and a team failing to reach their ultimate goal. With Anthony Davis publicly seeking a trade ahead of this season’s trade deadline, there are several teams whose title chances could be impacted.
Despite Davis being fined for his comments about wanting to be traded, a trade involving the Pelicans’ big man would have an immediate impact on the Pelicans right off the bat. Without a legitimate number two star to play alongside Davis just yet, the Pelicans would fall out of the playoff hunt in a loaded Western Conference that may be having its most competitive season to date.
Elsewhere, the teams looking to acquire Davis would see their stock rise or fall depending on whether or not they could actually acquire Davis. Most notable among this group of teams is the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis shares an agent with Lakers superstar LeBron James, and the two have long been linked as players who could both end up on the Lakers at one point or another. If they ended up joining forces this season, they could go from a team just looking to get to the playoffs this season to a team that could realistically compete with the Golden State Warriors.
Speaking of the Warriors, Golden State’s status as the clear and obvious favorite to win yet another NBA Finals could be jeopardized by a trade involving Anthony Davis. The Warriors are -190 favorites to win the Finals at MoPlay.com prior to any movement by Davis. But if Davis went to a team like the Lakers or Toronto Raptors, those odds could change dramatically as the balance of power became more likely to shift.
Of course, the Warriors wouldn’t be too worried about their competition no matter where Davis ends up. They’ve enjoyed yet another double-digit win streak this season and are just getting an elite player in DeMarcus Cousins on the floor to join them after his recovery from injury. Davis could make a team much more competitive against the Warriors, and the Warriors could lose a series to a team that added Davis, but if there’s one thing the Warriors haven’t been over the course of their dynastic run atop the NBA it is afraid of an opponent.
The Anthony Davis situation is an interesting one, as it underscores just how much power players in the NBA have. But there is a reason that players aren’t the people tasked with making personnel decisions in major professional sports. While Anthony Davis might want to move on from New Orleans, waiting to do so until free agency, when a team would be able to sign him without having to give up anything in return could have been the smarter move. Either way, it will be interesting to find out which contender Davis finds himself on for the foreseeable future.