The Atlantic

Why the Anthony Davis and LeBron James Pairing Will Be Different

Two of the NBA’s best players have teamed up in the league’s glitziest and most history-rich locale, each with a legacy to burnish and an unhappy narrative to reverse.
Source: Tyler Kaufman / AP

Saturday afternoon, the other size-17 shoe dropped. Anthony Davis, the all-everything center who had spent his first six professional seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers. In return, the Lakers parted ways with some mid-tier players—including Lonzo Ball, once a sports-media fixture, but now just another guard with a shaky jump shot—and a bundle of future draft picks. The deal officialized one of the most anticipated moves in recent NBA history. L.A. was Davis’s presumed destination since before he formally made his trade request in January, and the two teams had reportedly been in talks before February’s trade deadline.

The trade also, of the sometimes quiet work it takes to build a winner. It was the sort of outcome adored by high-school coaches and film-scouring aficionados. But L.A.’s acquisition of Davis, which pairs him with LeBron James and could vault the team to the top tier of contention, speaks to the excitement of the quick fix. Two of the NBA’s best players have teamed up in the league’s glitziest and most history-rich locale, each with a legacy to burnish and an unhappy narrative to reverse. Winning is not guaranteed—partnerships as pedigreed as this one have been known to falter—but intrigue certainly is.

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