Two days ago, Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, becoming the biggest name to want out since Kawhi Leonard in the summer. Davis has been a member of the Pelicans for seven years and is eligible to become a free agent after next season. Davis, though, does not seem to want to stay until the end of next season, and he clarified that with his recent request.
Timing is everything.
So much can be inferred from the fact that his request was made now. As a Celtics fan, after I got over the initial excitement of the news, I logically concluded that the news does not favor the Celtics.
Let me explain. The three teams commonly being tossed around as potential destinations for Anthony Davis are Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks. Of the three, the Lakers would seem to have the best shot at this juncture.
First, let’s go over the Knicks. The Knicks have the big market that seemingly every star wants, but their cupboards are just so bare. In comparison to the Celtics, their best offer would probably be trumped by Boston’s third or fourth best offer. Boston then, appeals more to Pelicans’ GM Dell Demps. And if the hurdle is with convincing Davis to want to stay, the Knicks’ pull of New York does not hold up against the Los Angeles Lakers, which is probably the most storied franchise in league history in the huge LA market. Not to mention they have better young trade pieces, and you know, LeBron James. So the Knicks are the least likely scenario of the three in my opinion, but if he did end up in New York, the return would probably be Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Knox.
Next, the Boston Celtics. They are in the discussion because of their gargantuan asset chest. A combination including some of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, and their many first round picks overwhelms any other offer possible in the NBA. The hang up, however, is that the Celtics cannot trade for Davis until after Kyrie Irving resigns, unless they include him in the deal, which is unlikely. This is due to the Rose Rule, which restricts a team from having two players belonging to this rule at the same time. The Rose Rule allows a player who has met specific qualifications during his rookie deal to sign an extension worth thirty percent of the salary cap rather than the normal twenty-five. Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis both took advantage of this rule. If Davis is not traded until July when the Celtics will be able to resign Irving and grab Davis, the chances he wears his green next season greatly increases.
Finally, the most likely scenario at this point, the Los Angeles Lakers. I have to believe that Davis’s decision to ask for a trade now is him angling for a ticket to join LeBron in Los Angeles. Declaring trade intentions while Boston is unable to acquire him signals to me that Davis wants the Lakers to make a move now. If New Orleans were to trade him before the trade deadline on February 7, the Lakers would be in best position to add him. Similar to the Celtics, although not quite as strong, the Lakers have a pool of assets highly desirable around the league. From Kyle Kuzma, to Brandon Ingram, to Lonzo Ball, to even Josh Hart or Ivica Zubac, the Lakers have young players that teams like the Pelicans would want to start a rebuild with. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that Davis would probably be consent with a trade to the purple and gold. If he demands a trade to the Lakers, the offers of competing teams may drop due to the fear he would not resign following the close of next season. And there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t want to join LeBron James in the biggest basketball market in the country; pairing LeBron with AD would immediately make them the biggest scare to the Warriors in the West. Also, that 1-2 punch would almost assuredly attract another superstar in free agency. The stars are aligning for another Lakers juggernaut (it’s ok to cry Clippers fans).
This Anthony Davis trade speculation will have to monitored very closely over the next week. Davis’s desires will have a key role in where he lands because it will affect the offers coming Dell Demps’s way. Therefore, any report surfacing about Davis’s thought process will be invaluable. If he gets traded before February 7, the Lakers are the bet to make, although New York is in the mix also. If the Pelicans hold off trading him until the offseason, we may have a revitalization of the eminent Lakers-Celtics rivalry, this time for the services for the best big man in basketball.