There was some belief that the Celtics should chase Davis at any cost and attempt to win a championship next year, just like the Raptors successfully did with Kawhi Leonard this season. But sources said the Celtics also had concerns about giving up so many important pieces of their roster that they would not necessarily even be a championship-caliber team with Davis next season.
The Celtics, meanwhile, will pull back and most likely build around their young core, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the centerpieces. According to a league source, the Celtics never felt like a deal for Davis was close as discussions unfolded this past week.
Boston had a better collection of assets and young players to dangle if it chose. But the source said that the uncertainty surrounding Davis’s future had made the Celtics reluctant to overwhelm the Pelicans with their best possible offer, and that they had abstained from including Tatum in their packages.
Even if Irving departs, the Celtics remain optimistic about the state of the franchise. They hold the 14th, 20th, and 22nd picks in this draft. Even though some, if not all, of those picks likely would have been shipped out in a Davis deal, sources said the pursuit of Davis did not affect the team’s draft preparations, as they carried on, business as usual. According to a league source, the Celtics will continue to explore ways to potentially use some of those picks in deals for other current players, but that nothing was imminent.
The Pelicans' return for Davis was substantial and perhaps even more impressive given that the market had shrunk on New Orleans, based upon rival teams believing Davis would ultimately become just a one-year rental before leaving for the Lakers next summer.
The Pelicans will now have two of the top four picks in Thursday's NBA draft -- No. 1 and No. 4. New Orleans will select Zion Williamson at No. 1 and now has the flexibility to select a player at No. 4 -- or trade it at auction in the next several days. New Orleans has had significant interest in talks with teams in recent days on the fourth pick, and those talks are expected to continue over the next several days, sources said. Teams are pursuing point guards Darius Garland and Coby White high in the lottery, which gives New Orleans a chance for an even bigger haul from the deal.
Chris Mannix: Lakers get Davis without having to surrender Kyle Kuzma, important as they fill out the roster for next year. Pelicans get a haul, but this is a big day for Rob Pelinka. Lakers get their man.
There is still some hope within the organization that Irving will have a change of heart if Boston is able to acquire Davis. And Irving’s fickle personality certainly makes anything possible until he officially agrees to terms with some team.
But the likelihood of an Irving return appears to be decreasing. Nevertheless, the sources said, it is clear that the Celtics’ pursuit of Davis will push forward.
It is widely known that the Celtics have the shiniest collection of assets for a potential Davis deal, but there are questions about how far they would open their treasure chest. One league source said the uncertainty surrounding Davis’s long-term future in Boston has thus far limited the Celtics’ willingness to overwhelm New Orleans with an offer.
Although the tenuous situation may have affected the Celtics’ trade offers so far, the sources said Boston remains quite interested in Davis, regardless of Irving’s future. There has been some suggestion that the Pelicans will push to complete a deal soon so they will have more time to evaluate prospects they could select with whatever draft picks they receive in trade. But a league source said that notion has been overblown, and that New Orleans is confident in its multiyear evaluation process of current prospects.
Yossi Gozlan: Knicks exercising Trier for 2019-20 knocks down maximum cap space from $73.2M to $70.5M. Still enough to sign Irving and Durant to maximum deals. Also, pathway to sign both and trade for Anthony Davis still in play.
ESPN's Rachel Nichols asked Brian Windhorst on Thursday's episode of The Jump if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was using the Lakers' offer as leverage to gain more assets from the Celtics, and Windhorst said he believed that to be the case: "I think it's a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he's open to a deal with the Lakers. But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They've preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers' offers haven't changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don't really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would've already made the Lakers deal."
Should Irving leave, and the team’s bid for an Anthony Davis trade fall through, then short of moving ahead with what’s left, Danny Ainge’s creativity will be tested like never before. Though he wouldn’t share specifics, Grousbeck has admittedly heard some fairly exotic scenarios being discussed. “There’s definitely scenarios being spun inside the basketball office,” he said. “I’m there every day listening to them, that involve a number of players. I’ve heard a lot of scenarios. We’ll just see what happens.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Pelicans and Celtics are involved in a stare-down, and he thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are being used to drive up the price for his star. “I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the number four pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics.”
Brian Windhorst: “They’ve preferred a deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the GM. The Lakers offers haven’t changed that much... if he wanted to make the Lakers deal, and if he really wanted the draft pick, he would have already made the Lakers deal.”
Marc Stein: The Lakers, thus far, are sticking to their no-Kuzma trade posture ... but let’s see if they maintain it with the draft only a week away now. L.A. knows it likely needs to land Anthony Davis before June 30 to become a factor in chasing a prime free agent to join a LeBron/AD duo
Durant, Leonard and Davis are the three best players available and are the only three stars the Clippers are actively pursuing. The Clippers are firmly in contention for Leonard and/or Durant, but Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night — as well as Leonard’s Finals run with the Raptors and Davis’ recently revised trade list — has somewhat clouded the offseason forecast. That is compounded by the fact that missing out on the stars they want will not force the Clippers into a reactionary decision — be it a signing or trade — this offseason, league sources told The Athletic.
Bobby Marks: Keep in mind that Anthony Davis has a 15% trade kicker worth $4M after July 1. Not altering the bonus would have big financial implications on what Boston would have to send out and toward what type of flexibility Los Angeles could have.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in separate trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans in pursuit of All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The Lakers and Celtics are negotiating competing trade packages to acquire Davis, whom New Orleans EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin seems intent on trading prior to the NBA draft on June 20, league sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
Among the current young Lakers, New Orleans covets Kuzma the most. According to people familiar with the Lakers’ thinking, Kuzma has ingratiated himself with the organization both on the court and off, and management does not want to trade the forward, who is entering his third season. The Lakers might have an opportunity to keep their No. 4 pick should they agree to part with Kuzma.
Marc Stein: The Lakers' ability to seal a deal for Anthony Davis likely hinges on what the No. 4 pick can fetch. If the No. 4 pick can land a player to excite New Orleans, on top of Ingram and Ball, then the teams are headed for an agreement in principle before draft night next Thursday
Marc Stein: My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides
Tania Ganguli: One player that the Lakers’ trade discussions with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis could hinge on? Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers do not want to trade him, but the Pelicans want him as part of a package, sources tell me and @Brad Turner.
Marc Stein: The Lakers have made Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the June 20 draft available in trade talks with the Pelicans, league sources say. New Orleans has made it known it hope to assemble a three-teams-or-more deal before surrendering Anthony Davis
Bobby Marks: Boston is still not allowed to do a Davis trade until after July 1 because of the Designated Rookie Extension Rule. Kyrie Irving is not a free agent until June 30 @ 6PM EST. Both sides can negotiate a framework of a deal and verbally agree.
Adrian Wojnarowski: To be clear, of course: The Celtics and Lakers are trying to negotiate independent deals with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. There's no spirit of cooperation here. The Lakers No. 4 pick would be used to acquire Davis in a multi-team deal that does NOT include Boston.
Adrian Wojnarowski: So far, Boston has been undeterred in pursuing Davis -- despite his agent insisting AD would be a 2020 flight risk in free agency. For Boston, Davis could still be its best case to keep Kyrie Irving. Story soon on ESPN.com
Adrian Wojnarowski: Celtics and Lakers are engaged in trade talks with New Orleans on All-NBA star Anthony Davis, league sources tell me, @Zach Lowe, @Ramona Shelburne and @Brian Windhorst. Lakers No. 4 pick has been discussed as trade chip to help Pels acquire high-level player in multi-team deals.
On the Davis front, some Knicks decision makers have been adamant about not giving up a ton of significant assets -- young players or draft picks -- in a Davis trade, per SNY sources. Some in the organization are wary of giving up too many young assets or picks for Davis, citing the way things played out for New York in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade, per sources.
Boston? Davis’s father told ESPN in February that he wouldn’t want his son playing for the Celtics, and Paul confirms that he has warned off Boston management. “They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul says. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
Remember LeVert’s words, “Whatever happens, happens” when asked about free agency. It wasn’t said in a cryptic way, but it’s the truth. Anything can happen at any time. The Nets are in a position to get big free agents and/or make a splash trade, specifically for Anthony Davis. However, sources say that while the Nets are engaged in talks with New Orleans, they’re reluctant to give away their young, foundation pieces. That would be Caris LeVert himself. Furthermore, NetsDaily learned that despite Durant’s injury, the Nets are expected to continue their pursuit of KD next month.
New Orleans could be looking to move Anthony Davis by next week. The Pelicans appear to want to trade the star big man before the NBA Draft on June 20 and are engaged in talks with "several teams," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers, who have been interested in acquiring Davis since he asked for a trade in January, "remain aggressive," Wojnarowski said during a Tuesday appearance on SportsCenter.
The Knicks could trade several young assets, including their No. 3 pick that could turn into RJ Barrett, for Anthony Davis. But even if they do so, it may not even make them a playoff team if Davis doesn’t have a star partner. According to a source, the Pelicans need a third team with the Knicks in a trade more than any other potential club in the mix. Pelicans brass doesn’t find all the Knicks’ young assets attractive enough for a package.
Kevin Knox is the closest to a potential All-Star, but he went through a roller-coaster rookie season. According to a source, the Pelicans consider the Celtics to have the best young assets.
But if the Knicks don't sign Leonard and Durant is no longer an option, you wonder if it still makes sense to pursue Davis in a trade. Prior to Durant's injury, the Knicks had talked to the Pelicans about a potential Davis trade, SNY sources confirm. The Pelicans, according to an ESPN report, weren't enamored by any offer the Knicks or any other suitors had made for Davis. So the Knicks had engaged in some dialogue with teams in an effort to improve their offer for Davis, per SNY sources.
It's unclear how far along -- if at all -- any of that dialogue was, but some people in the organization were uncomfortable with the idea of trading away significant assets for Davis, citing the way things played out for New York in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade, per SNY sources.
Davis submitted a four-team preferred destinations list to the Pelicans in February [...] but it is believed that list has been narrowed in focus. Davis is now focused on the Lakers and Knicks as the two desired long-term destinations, league sources told The Athletic. Davis has not given Griffin or the Pelicans a new formal list. He will be a free agent in 2020.
Several teams — including the Celtics — are aggressive about pursuing Davis understanding they would potentially lose him after one season, when he is set to become a free agent. The Celtics want to pursue Davis and believe in their roster with or without Kyrie Irving, league sources said.
The Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick in the draft, have been motivated to pursue Davis sooner rather than later. The Lakers still have their young core of players intact, such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and the No. 4 pick. There is intrigue to see how the Lakers handle these trade talks, after providing less-than-appealing offers to the Pelicans during the trade deadline in February. For the Knicks, securing Davis would be a step to try to begin attracting talent around Davis with a significant upcoming free-agent crop in Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has started to provide potential suitors with the framework of the package that he is seeking in a trade for All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, including multi-team scenarios that would expand the Pelicans' pool of assets in a deal, league sources told ESPN. So far, Los Angeles and New York teams --- the Clippers and Lakers, Knicks and Nets -- have been among front offices inquiring with New Orleans, league sources said.
According to front offices who've engaged in conversations with Griffin, he hasn't sounded convinced that a singular team is likely to fulfill his wishes for a Davis deal. To that end, Griffin has been working to find multi-team trade scenarios that could redirect assets for players or picks more preferable to the Pelicans, sources said.
Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the asks on the draft picks -- and vice versa.
But perhaps not, according to the latest episode of "The Crossover" with Chris Mannix. As he explains with his guest Rohan Nadkarni of Sports illustrated, if Irving were to walk in free agency, it wouldn't diminish the Celtics' appetite for Davis. "From what I understand, they're not going to take their foot off the gas when it comes to pursuing Anthony Davis," Mannix said.
The LA Clippers are not prepared to part with one former Kentucky star in order to acquire another. In an appearance Thursday on ESPN’s “The Sedano Show,” NBA insider Bobby Marks reported that guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is “off the board” in any potential Clippers’ trade for Anthony Davis.
Fletcher Mackel: NBA source (who I trust a lot) told me tonight he thinks Boston is landing spot for Anthony Davis. Says Tatum is player NOLA covets most. Tatum, Smart (who @PelicansNBA also really like), filler (Williams, Ojeyele or Yabusele) & at least pick #14 this year.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, a lot of people inside of New Orleans' organization wouldn't have to reconsider anything. They were high on the Lakers' offer from the start. Speaking on The Sedano Show, here's what's McMenamin had to say: I spoke to several people within the Pelicans' organization in the past several months that have a really high opinion of Brandon Ingram, and beyond just Brandon Ingram, have a really high opinion of the trade package that was on the table that was ultimately rejected.
If Irving indeed leaves Boston, it may have an impact on the teams in pursuit of Davis. The Celtics' interest in Davis was reportedly predicated on their desire to pair him with Irving. Without Irving, you'd think the Celtics would be less inclined to give up a significant amount of young players/draft picks to acquire Davis. That could make the Knicks' trade pitches to Irving more attractive to New Orleans. The Lakers are expected to be in the mix for Davis as well. Though, as other reports have noted, some people in positions of influence in New Orleans continue to prefer to deal Davis to a team other than the Lakers, per SNY sources.
While the sit-down on Wednesday was said to have been respectful and productive, Davis’ stance regarding his desire for a trade is highly unlikely to change, league sources have said. As teams continue placing calls into New Orleans, Griffin has begun listening to teams and their inquiries on Davis, league sources told The Athletic. Previously, the Pelicans had been trying to pitch Davis to stay — and now they are at least open to hearing people out.
Between now and the draft, teams will continue placing calls into the Pelicans. They already have been, and Griffin has started to listen, sources said. Griffin has the option of keeping Davis until the February trade deadline, if not all season, but the fact that Davis’ stance remains firm means the same thing now as it would later.
Across the NBA, rival executives believe the following teams will be able to compile the best packages: The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Davis’ preferred destinations list of four teams includes the Lakers, Knicks and LA Clippers and that will embolden those teams to pursue him strongest of all.
As for Davis himself, he is in wait-and-see mode now and simply going about his workout regimen with fellow Pelicans players such as Holiday, Frank Jackson and Stanley Johnson. Griffin and Holiday spent time with each other in Los Angeles as well, league sources said, as Griffin continues to build strong rapports throughout his roster. Holiday is a cornerstone for the Pelicans, a two-way guard who has shouldered a leadership role for the franchise.
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis and David Griffin discussed the new executive vice president's vision for the franchise over breakfast in Los Angeles on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN. Davis, who requested a trade in January, and Griffin, who was hired in April, are expected to continue a dialogue in the near future, sources said.
Davis, 26, can become a free agent next summer, but Griffin has been determined on selling him on the Pelicans through a new prism. New Orleans plans to draft Duke's Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick, and Griffin has made strides with hires in his front office, medical and training staff and practice facility improvements.
New Orleans could have eager trade suitors -- the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks -- should Griffin engage trade talks, but so far that hasn't happened, sources said. Griffin has been determined to make a case to Davis over time.
Shams Charania: New Orleans star Anthony Davis will meet with new Pelicans executive Vice President David Griffin today, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
According to the source, Griffin still believes he can have as good a Big Three as any team in the NBA next season, with Davis, Zion Williamson and star combo guard Jrue Holiday — especially if Kevin Durant bolts Golden State. Asked if he would consider trading the third pick, Mills all but brushed off the query. “We’re here to evaluate the players that are here and we’ll keep moving along in our process,’’ Mills said.
The Knicks are considering packaging their No. 3 pick to New Orleans in a trade for Anthony Davis. It would seem Durant would prefer a ready-made superstar as sidekick, but who knows if he’d rather have Barrett and Kyrie Irving instead — especially considering Durant’s rave reviews of Barrett’s southpaw advantage. “Getting crafty with the left,” Durant said, watching the video on a laptop. “See lefties are tough to guard, man. They can go right better than righties can go left and so a left-hander is hard to guard. He’s a lefty that uses his right, which is gonna help him. “Shoot the J, OK. Man, he’s athletic, man. He can play out top. That’s the thing. You got to be able to play out top, conduct the offense.
Fletcher Mackel: Per the “over my dead body” reports out there regarding Gayle Benson, the Lakers and Anthony Davis. I have spoken to Gayle. She laughed at the report and called it “totally absurd,” and “completely untrue.” @wdsu @basketballtalk @Rachel__Nichols
But Pelicans owner Gayle Benson fired Demps and said the new lead executive would report directly to her, not to Loomis. So, will anyone left in New Orleans stop a trade of Davis to the Lakers? Jackie MacMullan of ESPN: We have been told, I think, through channels – most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt – that Gayle Benson has basically told him, “To the Lakers, over my dead body.”
Similarly, New Orleans is also waiting on a meeting with Anthony Davis, and Pelicans sources say that discussion is expected to take place within the next week. David Griffin, who took over the team’s basketball operations last month, is planning to pitch Davis on staying put after a season that saw AD ask for a trade and say that, if that request wasn’t accommodated, he would opt out and leave as an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
There have been reports that Davis hasn’t moved from that stance, and if such is the case, sources here told the Herald the Pelicans will reach out to the Celtics as the most obvious trade partner. The Celts may still not be sure about a deal because it’s not known yet what the Pels will want in return for the All-Star, but there seems to be a belief that they’d be able to work things out.
The Los Angeles Lakers seemed like they might have the inside track on acquiring Davis after the two teams’ reported trade discussions earlier this season. However, the Pelicans came away from that debacle unhappy with how business was done. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on “The Russillo Show” podcast that he thinks the Pelicans are still ticked about that and won’t make a deal with the Lakers, especially after New Orleans landed the No. 1 pick. “I don’t think the Pelicans want to make a deal with the Lakers — when I say I don’t think, I know that’s how they feel,” Windhorst told Ryen Russillo. “Had the Lakers won the lottery and had Zion and had an opportunity to offer something like that, it would have been so overwhelming that I think it might have removed that impediment. There’s a lot of animosity and scar tissue built up between these two organizations. I feel very strongly that New Orleans does not want to make a deal with LA.”
August 5, 2021 | 8:34 pm EDT Update
Following his starring role in the Space Jam remake, LeBron James is heading back behind the camera to produce Rez Ball, a Native American basketball drama for Netflix. Rez Ball is described as Friday Night Lights meets Hoosiers. The story, according to the project’s description, “follows the Chuska Warriors, a Native American high school basketball team from Chuska, New Mexico, that must band together after losing their star player if they want to keep their quest for a state championship alive. It’s an all-American underdog story about Navajo kids and coaches told from the inside-out.”
August 5, 2021 | 7:30 pm EDT Update
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Ben McLemore, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.
Vanessa Bryant has settled a lawsuit filed by her mother, TMZ Sports has learned. Sofia Laine had claimed she worked as a nanny for Vanessa and Kobe for nearly 20 years and said she was owed $200,000 … computed at a rate of $96 an hour.