Anthony Davis has played his entire seven-year NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans since going first overall in the 2012 NBA draft. While Davis has stuffed the stat sheets […]
Anthony Davis has played his entire seven-year NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans since going first overall in the 2012 NBA draft. While Davis has stuffed the stat sheets and been named to four All-Star games (five once he’s named as a reserve this year), he’s only tasted the postseason twice, and advanced past the first round once.
While previous public comments over the years insinuated that Davis wanted to work out things in New Orleans and lead his team to the promised land, losing has appeared to reach a breaking point for the power forward/center. The 22-28 Pelicans sit 13th in the Western Conference.
Now, Davis wants out. He’s informed the team that he doesn’t plan to re-sign despite being eligible for a supermax deal in New Orleans. Davis would prefer a trade, which is possible but a little unlikely before the February 7 deadline. It seems more likely that Davis would be moved in the offseason, but an in-season trade can’t be ruled out.
UPDATE 1/29/18: Anthony Davis and agent Rich Paul are reportedly telling teams that the Los Angeles Lakers are their preferred destination, and Davis won’t agree to an extension with any other team.
In terms of impact on the basketball court, there’s only a handful of players that bring more value to a franchise than the Brow. Despite missing nine games this season, Davis is averaging a career-high in points per game (29.3), assists per game (4.4, more than double his career average), rebounds per game (13.3), and steals per game (1.7.)
All 29 other NBA franchises would sell their first-born child to add the 25-year-old to their roster. While more suitors could emerge and the situation could change if it’s an in-season or off-season trade, three teams have been identified as potential suitors on the day Davis broke the news.
Los Angeles Lakers
The team with the most buzz for potentially acquiring is and has been the Los Angeles Lakers. Since the arrival of LeBron James, Davis’s name has been floated as a second superstar to add to the Lakers roster. Of course, being the Pelicans cornerstone, Davis wasn’t expected to be available this soon.
To trade for Davis, the Lakers will have to give up a sizable amount of their young core. Potential trades are rumored to be centered around Lonzo Ball, Ivica Zubc, Kyle Kuzma and/or Brandon Ingram, and one or two first-round picks. Lance Stephenson may also need to be included for salary cap purposes.
While pairing LeBron and Davis is a mouth-watering proposition, the Lakers may have to sacrifice their young core and move into win-now mode. Any trade that ships out more players than it brings in would also open the door for a Carmelo Anthony signing.
Despite having an already star-studded lineup, Boston had also been linked to Davis before his request for a trade. Now, talks can heat up for Davis to join the Celtics: but nothing can happen this season. This is due to complications surrounding the Rose Rule, which allows qualified players to earn up to 30% of their team’s cap space as opposed to 25%. Under the current CBA, only one such contract can exist on each NBA roster. Kyrie Irving and Davis are both currently signed under Rose Rule extensions, and cannot co-exist on the Celtics current roster.
Barring an extremely unlikely trade that ships out Irving, the Celtics can’t acquire Davis until this summer. Irving will be a restricted free agent, and Boston could strike a new deal that allows both players under the salary cap rules.
The Celtics may be one of New Orleans best trade partners. Like the Lakers, Boston would have to give up some young, developable talent which could include Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown.
New York Knicks
Always a premiere destination, but seldom an NBA star’s first choice: the New York Knicks. Despite being rumored for nearly every star that becomes available, the Knicks last decade has only attracted Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
But the Knicks are atop the rumor mill once again, with cap space next year and Kristaps Porzingis under team control as a restricted free agent. While the Knicks don’t have obvious future stars like the Lakers and Celtics, that have something that could entice the Pelicans this year: a presumed Top 5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
If the Knicks can find a way to land Davis, they could either pair him with Porzingis for a loaded front-court, or re-tool and try to add a more dynamic star like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, or Kevin Durant. Of course, this would mean the Knicks would have to successfully court a player in free agency. With a subpar track record in that field, having Davis on the roster could attract top free agents.
In other words, if the Knicks give up a boat-load of picks for Davis, they would be killing two birds with one stone: adding an MVP-caliber player and making New York an attractive free agent destination.
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Header Photo: Getty Images via Sporting News.com