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Volume 26 No. 65
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Pressure On Pelinka Following Davis Trade; Celtics Forced To Adjust

Pelinka will now have to prove he can surround Davis and James with complimentary players
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Lakers in trading for Anthony Davis went from a team trying to win their first playoff game since '12 to "arguably the best team in the league," according to Arash Markazi of the L.A. TIMES. The Lakers "couldn’t waste another season of LeBron James or hope their young core developed or expect a free agent to sign with them when they had whiffed on every big name outside of James for nearly a decade." They had to "push all their chips in and go for it" (L.A. TIMES, 6/18). In DC, Ben Golliver writes Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is "clearly a short-term winner given the degree of difficulty." He "consummated a deal to land a perennial all-NBA talent in his prime," a move that "changes the negative narrative around his team and puts it back on track for a deep playoff push." Golliver: "However, the long-term view might not be as friendly" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18). ESPN's Rachel Nichols noted James is a "diminishing asset" as he turns 35 next season, and if the Lakers "don't look to maximize him now in the year he is turning 35, there's really no point to have even signed him" ("The Jump," ESPN2, 6/17). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes, "The future of the franchise depends on Pelinka not screwing it up again" (L.A. TIMES, 6/18). TNT's Shaquille O'Neal said the Lakers "should bring back" Clippers advisor Jerry West to help run the team. O'Neal said, "He's right across the hall, right across the hall" ("First Things First," FS1, 6/18).

CELTIC PRIDE? In Boston, Christopher Gasper writes the NBA offseason "hasn’t begun in earnest yet, and already the Celtics feel like one of the biggest losers." The Celtics failed to acquire Davis and may lose Kyrie Irving in free agency, as they are now "left picking up the pieces of their master plan." The Celtics were "supposed to be set up to contend for an NBA title for years to come" but are now "hitting a reset button of sorts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/18). The POST's Golliver writes Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is one of the "losers" in the Davis trade fallout. His master plan for a Celtics dynasty has "taken hit after hit in recent weeks, and Irving’s rumored departure to the Nets could be next." A "superstar breakthrough from Jayson Tatum is starting to look like Boston’s best -- and maybe only -- chance at salvaging anything close to its best-case scenario over the next five years" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18). 

BUCKLE UP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen writes, "The NBA has entered a state of anarchy." The league is now "so wide open that even the Lakers can tell themselves they’re title contenders." For the "first time in a while, nobody has any idea what to expect from next season, mostly because nobody has any idea who’s going to be playing where next season." Cohen: "Which is why the next month in the NBA is about to be utterly bonkers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/18). ESPN's Nichols said with the trade of Davis, it "already looks really different around the NBA, and that's only going to be more true over the next few weeks" as free agency begins ("The Jump," ESPN2, 6/17). CBSSN's Adam Schein said the trade "rocked the NBA landscape as we know it" ("Time To Schein," CBSSN, 6/18).