Whatever is happening between Davis and the Pelicans is only a little about market size. Davis has not yet told those close to him that he is dead set on the Lakers or any other specific team should he decide to leave, according to a source familiar with his thinking. He does not appear ready to demand a trade. All of that could, of course, change at any moment. Regardless: There is no denying the importance of this story. Any trade over the next year involving Davis might be the single most important trade of an NBA veteran since the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee in 1975. (Kevin Pelton once tackled this question from a more analytics-infused perspective.)
Rachel Nichols: Let's talk about other guys who might want to play with you. You said recently that it would be "amazing" if the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis. Have you talked to Lakers management about putting together a "Godfather" offer to get AD? LeBron James: I have not. I have not, to be honest. And it wasn't brought to me as trading for Anthony Davis; the way it was brought to me was, how would it feel if Anthony Davis was a part of this franchise, and I was, like, duh! It would be amazing. I mean, come on now. Stevie Wonder can see that. Let's not get it twisted. It would be unbelievable to have a 25-year old superstar in the prime of his career come here. We saw what happened when Shaq came here from Orlando. I mean, that's what the Lakers do -- they go get out the big fish.
Combine that with the fact Davis signed with the Klutch agency that also represents James before the start of the season, and it is little wonder that the rumor mill is in overdrive. "I definitely get the sense (it is in the works)," Garnett laughed. "This is the craziest (expletive) I have ever seen. Rich Paul, LeBron’s best (expletive) friend is representing him? Come on, man."
If Davis indicates that he won't extend, the Pelicans may find a trade is the only answer, lest they lose one of the league's elite players without any compensation. The buzz in Las Vegas, where most of the league's executives gathered over the past few days for the NBA G League Winter Showcase, is that Davis will end up with either the Boston Celtics or Lakers before the 2019-20 season. "It's a renewal of the NBA's great rivalries, just not on the court but behind the scenes," one executive said.
The primary link to the Lakers is Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who is the player agent for both James and Davis. That connection is a conflict of interest, at least in the view of several teams. "I'm not worried about James tampering to the media about AD. It's that James and Paul are mafioso mob bosses of the NBA that's the problem," a Western Conference general manager said.
"I wouldn't lock the Lakers in for AD," a front-office executive said. "Davis will have a lot of options if he wants to leave New Orleans." The Celtics may not have the cap space to renegotiate his contract, but by virtue of his trade bonus, they could get within $18 million of the supermax, with Davis re-signing again in 2022. Given the available options, Davis can afford to turn away a massive offer from the Pelicans.
With the Pelicans staying overnight before traveling to Sacramento, James and Davis met up for a postgame dinner in Los Angeles, league sources told Yahoo Sports. If Davis desires to be a member of the Lakers, it’s only a matter of time before he’s eventually sporting the purple and gold. Davis is in complete control of his destiny, and it may lead him directly to Southern California.
The Designated Player Veteran Extension was intended to increase the likelihood of franchise players staying with their current teams. However, for the Pelicans’ superstar and the representation he hired in September — Klutch Sports, which also represents James — the lucrative incentive won’t factor much into his decision on whether the 6-foot-10 star will commit long term to New Orleans, as The Athletic reported Friday. Davis wants to compete for championships for years to come. If Davis is of the mindset that New Orleans can’t surround him with the talent to contend, the DPVE won’t be viewed as much of a sweetener.
“I’d take legacy over money,” Davis told Yahoo Sports after posting game highs of 30 points and 20 rebounds to go with five assists in Friday’s loss. “I want to have a legacy. All my people that look up to me, the younger kids, I want them to know about AD’s legacy. Championships, the things I do in the community, being a good teammate, playing hard. All that stuff matters the most to me. Don’t get me wrong, money is amazing. But I think in that sense, money or legacy, I think my legacy will win that battle every time.”
The L.A. market is alluring and Davis is intrigued. Earlier this year, he purchased a $7.5 million home in Westlake Village in Los Angeles County. Furthermore, his profile and Nike presence would presumably grow in L.A. The Lakers are a legitimate threat to pry Davis from the Pelicans. And if that’s what he wants, as many believe, there really will be no stopping him.
Players on other teams and a few of Davis’ teammates at times have privately suggested to the forward that the best outcome for him might be to move on, sources told Yahoo Sports. Davis, publicly, has professed his love for New Orleans and has tried to keep his focus on the season at hand.
Speaking with reporters Friday after the Los Angeles Lakers' 112-104 win over New Orleans, James was asked if he erred when he told ESPN's Dave McMenamin this week that it would be "amazing" to play with Davis some day. Told that some felt it was wrong for James to talk about another player under contract, James replied, "So?" "What'd I do?" James said. "What did I do? Was it right or wrong?"
"Ask me if I'd like to play with Jimmy Butler," James said. "Say it right now. Ask me about Kyrie Irving, Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Ask me about [Joel] Embiid, Ben Simmons. Go ahead, all of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. "Come on, guys, this is not rocket science. These are great players. Absolutely. I would love to play with a lot of great players. That is just who I am. People get caught up in bunches sometimes when they wish they could control what you say, and they can't control me, at all. "And I play by the rules."
As it stands, there is no indication that the 25-year-old Davis wants to be traded. But with the Feb. 7 trade deadline nearing and LeBron sending clear signs that he wants to partner with Davis, there is a strong sense that now is the time for the Lakers to attempt to make this move.
Here’s why: While the Pelicans continue to say they won’t trade him, a strong offer might force an early conversation between Davis and team officials about his eventual intentions. It’s the absence of clarity on that front, in essence, that is buoying New Orleans’ hope that he might stay. What’s more, the Lakers have a competitive edge over Davis’ other known suitor, the Boston Celtics, that is getting smaller by the day.
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.”
October 25, 2021 | 1:28 pm EDT Update
Chris Grenham: Jaylen Brown and Al Horford are both questionable tonight, per the Celtics. Romeo Langford is doubtful.
Ira Winderman: Magic injury report vs. Heat tonight at FTX Arena: Gary Harris (hamstring) questionable
Dane Moore: Wolves rank 1st in the league in turnovers drawn and 30th in rebounding, by frequency Chris Finch today: “If we’re able to create steals, there’s going to be some cost with the offensive rebounds.” Finch noted opposing perimeter players O rebs being the weak spot of the scheme