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The Lakers ‘pulling out’ of an Anthony Davis trade is an incredibly obvious negotiating tactic

LA wants Davis badly, and there will be a rumor war between the Pelicans and Lakers until the very end.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Lakers “pulled out” of trade conversations regarding Anthony Davis on Tuesday after the Pelicans asked for a historically rich trade involving four first-round AND four second-round picks on top of a fleet of assets and salary relief, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner.

But this isn’t the end of discussions. It’s not even close with two full days until the trade deadline.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski called out the Lakers’ move for what it is: a negotiating tactic. Just as the Pelicans made a strong-arm move in demanding that rich package, the Lakers are countering with one of their own.

“The Lakers are still glad to engage with the Pelicans on an Anthony Davis trade, but no longer want to bid against themselves,” Woj tweeted.

So what happened?

The Lakers are seemingly the only team left in the Davis sweepstakes, at least before the trade deadline expires. Davis reportedly added the Knicks, Bucks, and Clippers to his trade destination list, but none of those teams appear to have enough to swing a deal. LA is likely realizing that it’s bidding against itself right now.

The Pelicans have done their part by pressing the Lakers to offer them as much as reasonably possible. According to Turner, the Lakers had agreed to send Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and two first-round picks to the Pelicans. That’s about as much as the Pelicans should expect from the Lakers or any suitor right now, with maybe a little wiggle room up to the deadline.

Now LA is putting its foot down, realizing the ridiculousness of the ungodly deal New Orleans requested. The two sides are engaging in a classic push-and-pull. And because negotiations have been so public and have such high stakes, the Lakers and Pelicans are letting the world know they’re being aggressive in getting what they want.

The Lakers “pulling away” feels like an effort by the franchise to show it wont get pushed over in their attempt to get a sweet deal, releasing themselves of blame for whatever does or does not happen at the deadline.

So no, the Lakers aren’t really out. In fact, they’re very much in. But a realistic counter-offer needs to be on the table for either side to move forward.