Upon Anthony Davis and his agent Rich Paul requesting a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, it again ignited speculation involving the Los Angeles Lakers. They have long been presumed a potential landing spot for Davis, particularly after he joined Klutch Sports last year.
Like with trade rumors over the past two years that involved Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, members of the Lakers young core find themselves in the spotlight. The team resisted trading Brandon Ingram for George, and never assembled a sufficient offer for Leonard.
Now, the Lakers face an opportunity to break from the trend and pair LeBron James with another generational talent. Speculation figures to run rampant leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and as the offseason approaches if Davis is not moved within the next week.
Should that continue to involve the Lakers, head coach Luke Walton is encouraged by the demeanor of his young players and their ability to tune out the noise.
“We talk about it every since I’ve been here, we talked about it before the season. We focus on what we can control, and that’s how we work and come into practice,” Walton said. “Our guys came in with a great attitude, worked hard and we got better.
“At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is our group and what we’re doing. If anything were to happen, it’s out of our control anyway. So we don’t focus on it, and I think our group does a good job with that.”
Given that some of the Lakers were previously mentioned in trade speculation, Walton believes they’ve learned from that experience. “There seems to be more comfort this time around than last year when all this was happening,” he said.
“Just like anything in this league, their skill set, their bodies physically, the mental part of going through these type of things gets a little better each year that goes on. You go from being young to a vet and before you know it you don’t even think about this stuff anymore.”
Of the players who have been mentioned in trade scenarios, Ingram’s name arguably has come up most often since being drafted. “I control what I can control. I don’t listen to the media or whatever it is,” he said.
“I just play basketball and control what I can control. Come on the floor and be the best that I can be, and listen to the people in my circle.”
He admitted to being more comfortable in handling the speculation but didn’t attribute that to changes made. “I don’t think I’ve done anything differently,” Ingram said.
“Like I said, I know who to listen to, I know what I have to do on the basketball floor. I stick to the same routine every single day that I come in here.”
Ingram may be spared in the latest round of trade rumors, as the Pelicans are said to covet a package that includes Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac if they are to trade Davis.
As for Kuzma, he dismissed having any concern or giving any attention to being tied to the Davis saga.
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