The New York Knicks were expected to be aggressive in pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis before trading Kristaps Porzingis.
While the Latvian-born big man was offered to the Pelicans before he was moved to the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans was reportedly not interested in such a deal. However, it’s possible that the Knicks could still pull off a blockbuster transaction.
According to Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Lakers remain the top destination for Davis. However, New York is also a “preferred landing spot” for the six-time All-Star. Now without Porzingis, the front office could try offering a new package that would give the Pelicans young pieces and draft picks.
Kevin Pelton looked at what it might take to trade for Davis and provided some interesting details (via ESPN):
“The Knicks would have to send back $21.6 million in salary, and as noted earlier that’s more than all their currently guaranteed 2019-20 contracts combined. Realistically, this year’s pick would have to be part of any Davis trade, and New York could use the same strategy as the Cleveland Cavaliers did with Andrew Wiggins in 2014 by signing the pick first and subsequently trading him 30 days later when his salary counts for matching purposes.”
The Knicks could package their Top 5 pick alongside some combination of Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson to create a trade for Davis. They would likely have to include the future first-round picks they just acquired in exchange for Porzingis, according to Pelton.
It would be hard to find a better deal that allows New Orleans to rebuild around young talent and picks, especially if the Knicks land the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Suddenly, the Pelicans’ future could include Zion Williamson and a trio of recent Top 10 picks on controlled contracts with Knox, Smith and Ntilikina.
While it still seems unlikely that Davis will end up in New York, perhaps New Orleans is more interested in a package with several young prospects and first-round picks than they were in Porzingis. It hurt to rip off the band-aid and trade the 7-foot-3 big man, they now have the necessary cap space to land two superstar free agents or potentially the assets to trade for one.