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The Lakers will eagerly await the MRI on the Achilles tendon of Anthony Davis, who was injured again Sunday night when Los Angeles had its seven-game winning streak stopped in a loss to the Nuggets. While Davis didn’t appear to have suffered an Achilles rupture (he left on his own), this injury likely required an extended period of rest for Davis.
The Lakers called the injury “stress.” Earlier last week, after Davis missed two games with tendon pain, he was diagnosed with Achilles tendonosis, a degenerative condition that can get worse over time.
“Obviously the doctors don’t want to rule anything out or say it’s something it’s not, but they said everything looked good,” Davis said after the game, adding that he thought the team took all the right steps to get it. back on the ground. “But they still want to get an MRI to be sure.”
While that’s worrisome in the long term for a player the Lakers just gave a five-year, $ 190 million deal, the short-term question remains: What now?
Lakers Options After Anthony Davis Injury
This injury is unlikely to knock Davis out for the season, but it could require his absence for a significant portion of the upcoming schedule. The NBA trade deadline is six weeks. The Lakers have a handful of options to survive his absence, though none come close to matching Davis’ production at both ends of the court.
He signs someone. This would be the simplest option. If Davis were ruled out for the season (again, highly unlikely), the Lakers could file for a disabled player exception, giving them the financial flexibility to pursue a big free agent. But it’s not that simple for the Lakers because of the league’s salary rules. The Lakers have less than $ 1 million in salary available to offer. Based on a prorated minimum wage, they can’t use it until the end of this month. And the options are slim at free agent centers: Dewayne Dedmon, Anthony Tolliver, Ian Mahinmi.
Trade with Talen Horton-Tucker. This would be the nuclear option. The Lakers like Horton-Tucker, they want to stay with Horton-Tucker, he’s a Klutch Sports guy. But he’s 20 years old, he’s heading to free agency and he’s the only legitimate business chip the Lakers can offer. LeBron James is 36 years old. There’s a good case for pulling the trigger on a win-now deal that brings in a quality big man as insurance against Davis’s injury, rather than wasting James’ season late in his MVP career.
Montrezl Harrell trade.
His energy is appreciated, but the Lakers need a defensive-minded big man with Davis out. Harrell has a reasonable contract ($ 9.2 million this year, player option below) and there would be a market for him. The Lakers could package him (although he’s another Klutch guy) with THT for a flashy deal that fills the AD gap.
He plays small. This is what the Lakers will do, in some form, in the coming days. He starts Kyle Kuzma, who has played well lately, as a power forward, moves Marc Gasol to the bench and places Markieff Morris or Harrell as the starting center. Morris makes the most sense for shooting him. But the Lakers could pick up the pace with a small lineup and hope to outmaneuver their opponents until they can get Davis back.
Anthony Davis Did Not Appear to Be in Unbearable Pain
Of course, this is not the time to hit the panic button yet, not with Davis still waiting for an MRI. And one look at the play she was injured on is encouraging: He winces in pain, but it doesn’t appear to be excruciating pain.