Bill Oram: Asked about LeBron’s comments about Anthony Davis this week, Kyle Kuzma said, “Who wouldn’t want to play with him? I’m sure I would want to play with him too. He’s a top five player in the league. So Michael Jordan would probably want to play with him too.”
New Orleans Pelicans’ fans, you’re about to be inundated with Anthony Davis trade talk. As if Friday night’s 9:30 p.m. tipoff against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t enough of a storyline setup, the game is broadcast on ESPN and comes in the midst of New Orleans’ most mediocre month. But, before tuning in, keep this in mind.
Based on multiple sources, the Pelicans have no intention of trading Davis this season. By all current indications, the superstar will have to expressly turn down a five-year, $239 million offer that would make him the richest player in NBA history. It’s nearly $35 million more than he can get anywhere else. And if Davis decides to decline it, only then will this whole conversation cross the line from possibility to reality. That’s not until July. But, be prepared.
Just remember it holds no real-world implications at the moment. None. Instead, it’s far more likely the Pelicans are a buyer than a seller over the next six weeks in the trade market. Sources confirmed general manager Dell Demps is dutifully trying to bolster his roster in an attempt to make noise in this year’s playoffs. The Pelicans want to tempt Davis into re-signing by giving him a championship vision. And the only way to do it is by winning this season.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday knows his team’s best hope to championship contention is coveted by the competition. “I mean, everybody wants to [have Davis on their team],” Holiday said. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. To us, he’s our franchise player. He’s top three in the world.” Is it distracting to hear and read media speculation about Davis potentially leaving? “Nah. I feel like, y’all hear it. We don’t really hear it,” Holiday said. “The only teams I know about is Boston and the Lakers. But again, we don’t really pay attention to that.”
Anthony Davis is aware of LeBron James' fawning comments to ESPN about him this week, but Davis is doing his best to block out all the noise about his contract situation with the New Orleans Pelicans. "I don't really care," Davis told ESPN of James' comments Wednesday night after the Pelicans' 123-115 loss to the Bucks. "Obviously, it's cool to hear any high-caliber player say they want to play with me. But my job is to turn this team around. If we're 15-17, that means I'm not doing my job."
Will Guillory: Just spoke to Pelicans GM Dell Demps about LeBron's comments on AD. His response: "We're going to let the league handle it. We're just worried about our team. People can say whatever they want to say. That's not our concern."
Jennifer Hale: The @PelicansNBA response to LeBron's comment "It would be amazing" to play w/ AD if Lakers trade for him: GM Dell Demps tells me "Pels are leaving it up to League to determine if that qualifies as tampering. Pels have no intention of trading AD. Focused on winning in West now."
Ahead of Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans visiting the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time this season on Friday, LeBron James openly pondered what having the All-Star forward alongside him in purple and gold at Staples Center would be like. "That would be amazing," James told ESPN on Tuesday before the Lakers' 115-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, referring to the Lakers landing Davis through a trade. "That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible."
James had Davis on his mind after seeing ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski laying out the Lakers' trade priorities in a segment that aired on Tuesday's SportsCenter. "They're not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they've got to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer pre- or post-free agency," Wojnarowski said. "That's why they've looked at players who are on one-year deals who don't have money going forward."
Which is why, when reports that the Lakers would not include any of their young core in a trade for Trevor Ariza came out, it fit with the Lakers’ long-term thinking. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN discussed this on a special trade season preview broadcast Saturday morning (transcription via Real GM). “Here’s the line [the Lakers] have to walk: they’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre or post free agency… “The absolute dream scenario, people talk about (how) they can trade for Anthony Davis or sign a free agent. The dream scenario is they do both.”
The speculation isn’t expected to cool down, with Davis recently hiring Rich Paul of Klutch Sports — the same agent who reps LeBron James — to represent him. In the summer, the Lakers will be extremely aggressive in their pursuit of high-caliber stars to pair with James in the free-agent and trade markets. Boston, Golden State, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers will also be some of the teams monitoring Davis’ situation, sources told Yahoo Sports.
He seems so loyal to New Orleans, but hiring Rich Paul (LeBron's agent from Klutch Sports) was a major red flag for the Pelicans. The Lakers seem like the no-brainer move, either via trade this summer or free agency in two summers.
Insiders think that’s what Davis is doing, with the firing of agent Thad Foucher and hiring of Rich Paul, LeBron’s close friend and agent, all about the possibility of going to the Lakers. “Why else did AD do it?” asks an East GM. “Things are going great for him. The team is going good. He got the Derrick Rose extension [a five-year $150 million deal that each team is allowed to offer one player on his rookie contract.] “It’s not because of race. Thad Foucher is an Afro-American. It’s not because of agency. Thad Foucher is from the Wasserman Group and has Russell Westbrook. So why did he do it?”
Paul George, who forced Indiana to trade him a year before his contract expired, is the most recent example of stars maneuvering early to preserve their status as “Lary Bird players,” remaining eligible for maximum dollars. Insiders think that’s what Davis is doing, with the move to Klutch Sports all about the possibility of going to the Lakers. “Why else did he do it?” an East GM asked. “Things are going great for him. The team is going good. He got the Derrick Rose extension (a five-year $150 million deal that each team is allowed to offer one player on his rookie contract). “It’s not because of race. Thad Foucher is an Afro-American. It’s not because of agency. Thad Foucher is from the Wasserman Group and has Russell Westbrook. So why did he do it?”
In addition, recent reports claim Davis is eyeing the Lakers as well as other teams such as the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks. The Chicago native joked he had no idea how the rumors started but isn't paying attention to them for now. "You hear it everywhere, it's funny, how did that [Lakers rumors] even happen? How does that correlate?" Davis asked with a laugh. "You know, in my head, I don't pay attention to it, I keep going back to it but it's the truth, I look at what I have now and what I can do now and that's helping my team win." "You can't listen to what somebody else is saying, all the white noise, 'AD's going here, AD's going here,' — AD's playing for the Pelicans this year... the rest will take care of itself," he said.
Even though Rich Paul is doing his part to slow the speculation that his new client Anthony Davis could join his biggest client LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, that’s not stopping people from putting money down on the possibility. According to the online sportsbook Bovada, the Lakers are the favorite to have Anthony Davis on their squad at the start of the 2019-20 season.
10-time All-Star Paul Pierce has just come out with a theory that will not make New Orleans Pelicans supporters happy. According to the 40-year-old former NBA champion turned basketball analysts, he strongly believes that the Pelicans will end up dealing centerpiece star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers if the Pelicans perform below expectations in the upcoming season. Pierce shared his bold claim on ESPN’s The Jump.
Paul Pierce: “If things don’t go well in New Orleans this year and they’re hovering around 500 or not looking like a playoff team, Boston’s going to make a run at him or the Lakers,” said Pierce. “I guarantee you that. He will not be in New Orleans by the end of the year. If they’re not playing well he will not make it to All-Star weekend.”
April 17, 2021 | 3:07 pm EDT Update
Sarah Todd: Following an MRI and clinical evaluation, Donovan Mitchell suffered a significant right lower ankle sprain. He will be re-evaluated in one week.
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel says Andre Drummond will play and start today. Keef and Dennis are game-time decisions. Marc Gasol is available but dealing with hamstring tightness and his broken finger. Everyone else (other than AD and LeBron and Dudz) is good to go.
On Thursday, the Michigan Wolverines got some big news as senior leader Isaiah Livers announced he would be declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft. He put together an outstanding career in Ann Arbor and will now take his talents to the next level. This was an anticipated decision, but was made official on Thursday.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Stephen Curry said recently. “We’ve been able to mobilize quickly. We didn’t expect to have such an impact — we only launched a year and a half ago. But so many kids were hanging in the dark. It was alarming. We are excited about the work we’re doing but it’s hard to celebrate because it means the need is so great. That’s the dichotomy.”