Anthony Davis has reportedly told the New Orleans Pelicans that he would not re-sign with the team, even formally requesting a trade.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was asked if all roads pointed to Staples Center. While he noted the Boston Celtics have the most overall assets to offer New Orleans, every team in the league will at least inquire about the superstar big man.
One surprise is that the New York Knicks have the third-best odds at landing Davis in a trade, per Keith Smith. Their implied probability (15.4 percent) ranks only behind the Lakers (44.4 percent) and Celtics (25.1 percent) right now.
According to Wojnarowski, the 25-year-old Davis is “open to more than L.A.” and added that the teams in New York believe that. He said the Knicks will be aggressive in their pursuit of Davis.
Wojnarowski was unsure if the Pelicans would want Kristaps Porzingis due to fears he would not re-sign with them once his contract expires, which is the exact predicament they are now facing with Davis.
The more tempting scenario would be if the Knicks offered their top pick, giving New Orleans a chance to enter the Zion Williamson sweepstakes in the draft. Brian Windhorst spoke about this possibility with greater detail this morning (via Get Up):
“The New York Knicks need to decide whether they would be willing to make their No. 1 pick, unprotected this year, available. If they would, I believe they can put together a competitive offer that would help the Pelicans do a rebuild and they can get their hands on Anthony Davis in the next ten days. It would be a huge decision, but I think New York would be one of the few teams would be willing to sign an extension with. They are sort of the quiet lurker here.”
Boston has several protected picks (Grizzlies, Kings and Clippers) that may or may not convey. While it is unclear if those will belong to the Celtics this year or next, none project as a potential No. 1 overall pick. This is notable because the upcoming draft class is not considered particularly deep outside of Williamson.
Of course, the same could be said for the pick that New York would dangle. If it does not become the top selection in the lottery, the risk would likely not match the reward for New Orleans.
Meanwhile, giving them Davis would decrease the odds of the worst record in the NBA because he is a player that would help them win.
As such, the Knicks would become a significantly more likely destination if the Pelicans waited until the offseason to make a deal. This way, they could see what pick(s) are available to them in other offers.