For the better part of 2019, Anthony Davis has had a short-list of four teams that he’d prefer to end up with following his trade request out of New Orleans. Shams Charania of The Athletic now reports that Davis has reduced that list to two: the Lakers and the Knicks.
In February, when Davis submitted an initial list of teams that he’d be interested in playing with long-term, the Bucks and Clippers were on that list.
Now, with the results of the NBA lottery in hand and more and more trickling out about the Pelicans’ approach to the trade saga, there’s a chance we’re inching closer and closer to a move.
We wrote earlier today that Pels VP of basketball operations David Griffin had begun to reveal the framework of a package that he’d expect back in exchange for the superstar. It was also revealed that Griffin would prefer to deal several days before the draft if 2019 draft picks are to be involved.
It’s worth noting that although Davis’ preference may be to end up with the Knicks or Lakers, Griffin and the Pelicans’ have little reason to acquiesce if there are better offers on the table.
Charania writes that the Nets and Celtics are interested in Davis and could still aggressively pursue Davis. The Bucks and Clippers may too, for all we know, given their league-wide appeal and the fact they were once held in higher regard than 25 other teams in the league.
That falls in line with one aspect of the previous report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN earlier today, that teams have been emboldened by the success of the Kawhi Leonard trade and are willing to bet on their chance of convincing Davis to stay when he hits free agency in 2020.
Even if other teams make serious moves for Davis, it’s unclear that they’ll be able to offer what the Pelicans are seeking. After all, what the Pelicans are seeking may not necessarily even come from one single team.
The Knicks and Lakers, of course, do have the third and fourth pick in this year’s draft respectively but New Orleans supposedly wants an All-Star, a potential All-Star and a pair of young draft picks if they’re going to part with their 26-year-old star.
For that reason, don’t expect Griffin to rush into a trade that doesn’t favor the Pelicans, even if there’s pressure from Davis’ camp to send him to two of the biggest markets in the league.
If that requires a complicated multi-team deal between serious players for Davis and any other external party interested in facilitating, the Lakers and Knicks would be wise to make it worth it for everybody involved.