Near the very end of a wildly emotional day for the Lakers organization, Anthony Davis said he and his teammates could metaphorically take a long, deep breath.
In addition to the Kobe Bryant statue reveal — Bryant was one of Davis’ most treasured mentors — Thursday concluded a tumultuous trade season that stretched for months. Rumors swirled in mid-December once the Lakers started to struggle, and by the first week of February, the team’s players were a fixture on the trade-machine websites.
“I’m just glad the day is over,” Davis said late Thursday. “It can kind of make it a little wacky around the trade deadline time, guys hearing their names in rumors, and if this is going to happen, not going to happen. It can kind of weigh on guys. So, I’m just glad it’s over.
“We are who we are. We have who we have. And it’s on us to figure out how we can get more wins and move up in the standings.”
For players such as Davis and LeBron James, the trade deadline is about finding the best possible fits around them. For the rest of the roster, it’s about how easily lives can change when you’re suddenly off to Charlotte or Orlando.
Friday, with the deadline behind them, the Lakers’ supporting cast certainly looked like a group with some weight off its shoulders in a 139-122 win against the New Orleans Pelicans at Crypto.com Arena.
Foul trouble limited Davis and he scored 20 points. James was more of a distributor as he had 21 points to 14 assists.
Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell? They combined for 78 points on nearly 60% shooting from the field, the Lakers scoring 87 points in the first half in one of their best offensive performances of the season.
“I think it was just a testament to playing the game the right way,” Reaves said. “… We just played with force and we were really decisive.”
Free agent Spencer Dinwiddie, whom the Lakers are pursuing on the buyout market after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors, attended the game, sitting with general manager Rob Pelinka and going into the Lakers’ locker room after the game.
The Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, whom Dinwiddie visited with Thursday, are widely believed to be the two finalists for the guard.
The play from the Lakers’ supporting cast came on a night when it hopefully dodged losing guard Max Christie for an extended period. Coach Darvin Ham said Christie, who sustained an ankle injury Thursday night, underwent a MRI.
Christie didn’t play Friday, but he looked to be walking without a limp.
The team also said guard Cam Reddish has been cleared to begin a ramp-up process with “hopes of returning to game play following the NBA All-Star break,” the Lakers said.